I’M PRETTY SURE MY VOTER REGISTRATION IS UP-TO-DATE, HOW DO I CHECK?
Go to: voter.svrs.nj.gov. Under the tab “Am I Registered?” type in your name and month/year of birth. The League's voter info website Vote411.org can lead you to the same resource.
I HAVEN’T YET REGISTERED TO VOTE, WHAT ARE THE REQUIREMENTS?
You can register at age 17 to vote in the next election after you turn 18 years old. You must be a U.S. Citizen; a resident of the county for 30 days before the election*; not serving a sentence of incarceration as a result of a conviction of any indictable offense under the laws of any state or of the United States (a recent change in state law now allows people on parole or probation to re-register!). If you move within 30 days before an election in New Jersey you are generally permitted to vote at the location associated with your previous address, but you should call your county's board of elections to confirm!
HOW DO I REGISTER TO VOTE OR UPDATE MY CURRENT REGISTRATION?
You must complete a Voter Registration Application. You can now register online without printing or mailing the form! If you chose to print and mail the application be sure to time it so that it arrives at your County Board of Elections or County Clerk’s office at least 21 days prior to the election day. The online voter registration form for New jersey is here. You can download the Statewide application in English here. The form is also available pre-addressed for any county in NJ as well as in various languages from the same NJ state website.
CAN I VOTE IN ALL ELECTIONS, INCLUDING PRIMARIES?
You can only vote in a primary election if you have declared a party affiliation to one of the two larger parties, Republican or Democratic. Smaller parties do not participate in primaries in New Jersey. If you are unaffiliated, you can declare when you first vote in a primary. Then you can always switch back to unaffiliated, but keep in mind that changing affiliations must be done 55 days prior to a primary election.
WHAT IS VOTE-BY-MAIL AND HOW DO I DO IT?
Essentially, ballots travel through the mail to registered voters, they complete their hand-marked ballots and send them back by mail, or deliver to secure drop boxes available in each county. Vote-by-Mail has been around since the Civil War, when soldiers cast their ballots while away from home; commonly known as absentee ballots. Absentee or mail-in ballots are allowed, and in some cases encouraged, in every state. Over the past 20 years or so, five states in the U.S. have instituted universal vote-by-mail elections.
New Jersey’s 2020 Primary Elections were held by mail pursuant to Executive Order of Governor Murphy due to concern over the spread of Coronavirus. More than 80,000 Camden County registered voters cast their ballots by mail for the July 2020 primary.
The General Election in November 2021 will be conducted substantially by mail, but with options for early and election day voting in person as well. Unlike last year, voters need to have signed up to receive a vote by mail ballot in the 2021 General Election..
Completed and signed ballots should be sent back to the Board of Elections by regular mail postmarked no later than Election Day. Ballots that are postmarked by Election Day will continued to be accepted by mail for 7 days after election day to allow for mail delivery of those ballots. There will also be secure drop boxes at various locations throughout the county where voters can drop off their ballots for pickup by the Board of Elections by Election Day (the boxes will be locked after Election Day). Here is the link to the drop boxes in Camden County: Camden County Drop Boxes 2021
Polling places, approximately one per municipality, will be open.
General information about this election (2021) can be found here. This is a pdf file.
Details on voting, especially early voting, are here.
WILL MY VOTE BY MAIL BALLOT BE COUNTED? WILL MY PROVISIONAL BALLOT BE COUNTED?
Yes. After your ballot is delivered to the Board of Elections, the envelope is checked by the Commissioners, one from each party, to see that your signature matches the one on record, then the poll book is marked that you have cast your ballot. The Board of Elections sends a postcard to the voter acknowledging receipt of the ballot.
After that the inner envelope is separated and the Certificate removed. From that point, your ballot is anonymous with no identifying information connecting it to you. Beginning at 12:01 am on Election Day, vote by mail ballots are processed and the counting begins. The anonymous ballots are given a cursory review by processors, looking for rips in the paper or some markings that might prevent machines from scanning. After the ballots are scanned, tabulated results are added to the vote counts. Final results will not be available until up to 7 days after Election Day as vote by mail ballots can be received after Election Day as long as they are postmarked by Election Day.
In the 2019 General Election in Camden County, about 1% of all vote-by-mail ballots were rejected. The most common reason is that they were not signed at all (almost 50% of all rejections!) The second most common reason is that the voter forgot to include the ballot! A signature mismatch was third (about 12% of all rejections).
Lesson -- follow instructions! If you know your signature has changed, complete a registration form signed with your new signature. For the fall 2020 general election (and future elections) voters will have a chance to fix minor errors if their ballot is received in time. The county will send a notice to the voter if the ballot was not signed or if they cannot match your signature, so you can resubmit. This should greatly reduce rejection errors.
Provisional ballots are all reviewed and counted (as long as the ballot is ruled valid) following an election. An election result may be "called" even before provisional ballot counting is completed, since the Board of Elections knows how many provisional ballots are in their possession and whether that number could influence the results tabulated to that point. Even if results are "called," the election is not officially certified until ALL ballots are counted.
I HEAR A LOT ABOUT VOTER FRAUD WHEN IT COMES TO VOTE BY MAIL, IS IT SERIOUS?
The five states that rely primarily on vote-by-mail, Utah, Colorado, Hawaii, Washington and Oregon, have been studied extensively for fraud. Of billions of votes cast over a period of 12 years, the total number of voter fraud cases was 491, that’s less than .0004%.
WHERE CAN I FIND INFORMATION ABOUT CANDIDATES?
We're often surprised at how difficult it is to find reliable information on candidates, especially at the local level (municipal and county). But learning about candidates is what will make you feel most confident in casting your ballot. Here are our tips for researching candidates and two great League resources to get you on your way!
- Check out Vote411.org, a League-run website that requests responses on key questions from candidates in all local elections.
- This article from LWV US has timeless tips for how to make the very personal choice of whom to vote for.
- Many candidates for local races may not have a website, but many have a Facebook page where you can find out more about them. Don't be shy about posting questions or trying to reach out directly to candidates to learn their positions on issues of importance to you.
- NJ Pen typically collects candidate profiles for select local races and may have information in addition to what's found on Vote411.org. (Note: LWVCCNJ is not affiliated with NJ Pen; we are simply promoting local media.)
- Attend candidate forums where available; check out the social media pages or website for your town or local board of education for upcoming forums. If the League has been invited to moderate, we will include the details on Vote411.org and our events page.
- Votesmart.org is another resource for information on candidates including voting records for national candidates.
- If you have particular issues that are important to you, you may wish to view incumbent candidates' voting records (incumbent = the person who currently holds the seat and is running for re-election). Here are three websites for viewing voting records. You may have to contact your county or town to find out voting records for local officials.
CAN I DELIVER/MAIL SOMEONE ELSE'S BALLOT?
Yes but there are very important things to know about delivering someone else's ballot, AKA being a "bearer". You can only serve as a bearer for up to 3 other individuals, plus your own ballot of course. Even if you are just bringing your spouse's ballot to the post office or to one of the 13 secure county ballot boxes, you should complete the bearer portion as follows. Don't risk anyone's vote by not taking the bearer law seriously.
The voter must complete their ballot privately and place the ballot in the INNER yellow envelope, seal it and sign that inner envelope. Then the voter must place the inner yellow envelope into the OUTER green envelope, and as the bearer you must sign the outside of the green envelope IN FRONT OF THE VOTER. If you bring someone else's ballot with you to the Board of Elections and the bearer portion is not signed, the ballot will essentially be confiscated and nullified because chain of custody cannot be established.
WHAT ARE THE MOST COMMON REASONS A BALLOT IS REJECTED?
Fill out your ballot accurately, without any additional writing or markings outside of the candidate bubbles (these ballots are rejected outright as the extra writing could be identifiable to you). Read each race carefully to make sure you are voting for the right number of candidates, as some races have more than one open seat. Once your ballot is complete, place it in the inner yellow envelope. Sign the certificate using your regular signature (most often it's your driver's license signature). Do not detach the certificate flap! Put the inner yellow envelope that contains your ballot into the outer green envelope and seal it. Deliver/mail/drop it using one of the approved methods included in the information that came with your ballot. If someone else other than your mail carrier is going to handle your ballot, they MUST complete the bearer portion in your presence before taking your ballot! This goes for spouses too, see the section above.
WHAT IF I FORGET TO SIGN THE INNER BALLOT, OR ?SCRIBBLED INSTEAD OF MY REAL SIGNATURE?
The Board of Elections, upon processing ballots that have a missing signature or a signature that doesn't match what is on file, must notify the voter and provide the voter with instructions for fixing, or "curing" the ballot issue. You should do this as soon as possible if you receive this notification, as your "cure" must be received within 48 hours of the final election certification. For the 2020 General Election, election certification is November 20 (twentieth). To avoid this issue, make sure you take your time filling out your ballot, and take the signature portion seriously!
HOW CAN I SUBMIT MY BALLOT?
Review this page on the county website for the information about voting. Check out the buttons on the left for information about many aspects of voting.
While each voter can vote in the way that makes them most comfortable, you may want to consider submitting your ballot prior to Election Day. The Board of Elections will be able to start preparing ballots for counting in the days leading up to Election Day, meaning if you submit your ballot early it's very likely it will be included in Election Night totals. If you bring your ballot to your polling location on Election Day, it will be counted in the days following the Election. Keep in mind that either way, we may have to wait patiently for results to be fully tabulated following Election Day.
I DON'T HAVE TIME TO READ ALL THIS, CAN SOMEONE JUST HELP ME?
Of course! Call the League of Women Voters of Camden County NJ, 856-438-0182, leave a message and we’ll get back to you as soon as possible. Or send us an email: email@example.com. You can also reach the Camden County Board of Elections 856-401-8683, or email BOE@camdencounty.com.