AARP AARP States New Jersey Voters

How to Vote in New Jersey’s 2020 Election: What You Need to Know

En español | AARP New Jersey is fighting to protect voters 50 plus and make your voice heard on the issues that matter. We want to ensure you can vote safely – whether from home or in-person.

All of the state's registered voters will receive a postage-paid mail-in ballot this year, allowing them to vote safely from home amid the coronavirus pandemic.

A man walks out of an absentee voting station after voting
ANDREW CABALLERO-REYNOLDS/AFP via Getty Images

Here's what else you need to know:

How do I register to vote?

You can register online, by mail or in person.

Register to vote online on the state division of elections website here. The state division of elections website also offers a voter registration application for each county that you can print and submit to a local registration commissioner or elections superintendent, either by mail or in person.

Or you can pick up a registration application at your county's election office and complete it at the office or mail it in later. Applications are also available from your municipal clerk and from Motor Vehicle Commission offices. Or you can register to vote while applying for assistance from your county’s welfare agency or Board of Social Services. A full list of agencies is available on the secretary of state’s website.

You must register by Oct. 13 to vote in the November general election.

How can I get a mail-in ballot? Are there important deadlines?

New Jersey will be sending all registered voters no-excuse mail-in ballots, so you won’t need a specific reason to cast a ballot safely from home. If you don't receive a mail-in ballot or would rather request one yourself, you'll need to download an application from the state division of elections website or pick one up at your county clerk’s office.

You can also apply for a mail-in ballot in person at your county clerk’s office before 8 p.m. on Nov. 3, Election Day. You can place your ballot in any secure ballot drop box in your county on or before Election Day. Find secure drop box locations on the NJ Division of Elections website here or check out the map created by NorthJersey.com here.

Ballots must be postmarked by Nov. 3 and must be received by election officials by 8 p.m. on Nov. 10.

How do I fill out and return my mail-in ballot?
Take a look at the steps below and watch this video to ensure you fill it out and return it correctly:

  • Step 1: Fill out the ballot. The ballot includes instructions on how many people you can vote for in each office category. If you happen to receive two ballots, you may only fill out and return ONE ballot.
  • Step 2: To ensure your vote remains private, put your ballot in the smaller of the two envelopes.
  • Step 3: On the smaller envelope, fill out the flap with your name, address, and your signature – this is very important. Seal the envelope and make sure the perforated flap stays attached. Do NOT tear it off.
  • Step 4: Place the entire smaller envelope into the larger, stamped, self-addressed envelope and seal it.

How do I know my mail-in ballot is secure?

You can track your mail-in ballot by setting up an account with the state’s voter information system or by calling your county election office. When your election board receives your ballot, it will be removed and separated from its outer envelope so your vote will remain confidential.

When is Election Day? When are polls open?

Tuesday, Nov. 3. Polls are open from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. Each town is required to have at least one polling location on Nov. 3. You can use the state’s polling place locator to find where to cast your ballot.

You will cast your vote via a paper provisional ballot rather than a typical voting machine. Individuals with disabilities will have access to an ADA-conforming voting machine. 

You can also drop off your own mail-in ballot at your designated polling location.

Can I vote before Election Day?

In some cases, voters will be able to cast mail-in ballots in person at designated election centers. Contact your county election office to ask about potential early voting options. You can also deposit a mail-in ballot into a secure drop box in your county on or before Election Day.

What form of identification do I need to vote?

Most New Jersey voters don't need to show ID to vote. But you may be asked to show ID at your polling place if you didn’t provide identification on your voter registration form or if the ID that you provided couldn’t be verified.

What is being done to make polling places safe from coronavirus?

New Jersey officials are still working out polling protocol for November’s general election. But Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines related to social distancing and disinfecting will be implemented. Voters will be required to wear a face covering to cast their ballots in person if the state’s mask mandate is extended to November.

Will I be able to vote in the same place as I always have?

Not necessarily. Counties must offer in-person voting options, but only 50% of their normal polling places need to be open for voters. Check with your county elections office or use the state’s polling place locator to determine where to cast your ballot.

I have a loved one in a long-term care facility. How can they vote?

The New Jersey Long-Term Care Ombudsman's office has compiled information for residents and long-term care facilities on voting in this election, including how to help residents register or fill out their mail-in ballot. Read that information here.

Why is every active registered voter in New Jersey receiving a mail-in ballot?

Gov. Phil Murphy in August ordered state officials to send mail-in ballots to all registered voters. He also extended the deadline by which election officials must receive completed ballots. President Donald Trump's re-election campaign has sued to block the order.

Can I vote early in-person in New Jersey?

Some state lawmakers are pushing for early in-person voting this year, but New Jersey does not offer an official early voting window. In some areas, including Camden County, early voting centers will let you fill out and submit mail-in ballots in person prior to Election Day.

What are the key races in my state?

  • U.S. President
  • U.S. Senate: Incumbent Cory Booker (D) vs. Rik Mehta (R), Madelyn Hoffman (G), Daniel Burke (I), Veronica Fernandez (I) and Luis Vergara (I)
  • U.S. House: All 12 seats.
  • State Senate: 1 of 40 seats (special election)
  • State House: 1 of 80 seats (special election)

Voting rules and procedures may change before Election Day. We’ll update this story if they do, so bookmark this page and check back.

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AARP is urging older Americans to ask the candidates 5 key questions:

  • Just over half of all older Social Security beneficiaries rely on the program for at least 50 percent of their income. If elected, how will you ensure that current and future Social Security benefits are not cut as part of deficit reduction?
  • Half of the people with traditional Medicare spend at least a sixth of their income on health care. If elected, how will you protect Medicare from benefit cuts, as well as lower health care costs and ensure seniors continue receiving the affordable health care they have earned?
  • COVID-19 has caused death and suffering for too many older Americans who require long-term care. If elected, how will you make sure seniors can access safe and affordable long-term care at home, as well as in facilities like nursing homes and assisted living?
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AARP New Jersey Applauds Governor Murphy's Decision to Hold Hybrid Voting Process for the November 3 General Election

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, 71 percent of Americans over the age of 65 voted in the 2016 election. People over 65 years of age, and those with serious health conditions, are at the highest risk for severe COVID-19 related illness.

Because the coronavirus pandemic has raised serious concerns about keeping this year’s voting process healthy and safe, AARP New Jersey urged New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy to ensure all registered voters can cast their ballots safely from home or in person for the general election on November 3.

On behalf of our nearly 1.3 million Garden State members, AARP New Jersey applauds Governor Murphy’s announcement that the state will employ a hybrid process for voting in the November 3 general election, including a greatly expanded mail-in ballot process. Read the full statement here.  

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Are You IN?
As the pandemic continues, it’s critical that voters 50+ demand that candidates listen to us, and that we have options to vote safely.

Say you’re IN to:

  • Call on leaders to protect safe voting options
  • Demand that candidates speak up about protecting Social Security and Medicare, lowering drug prices, and more
  • Rally other 50+ voters to ensure we're heard loud and clear by every elected official and candidate this election

Take action here!

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Also of Interest:

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