Older New Jerseyans should be able to vote without the fear of getting sick or getting someone else sick.
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. On May 15, Governor Phil Murphy issued an Executive Order significantly expanding New Jerseyans' ability to vote from home for the upcoming primary election on Tuesday, July 7, 2020.
All voters who are registered Republican or Democrat will automatically receive a mail-in ballot to vote from home, including a postage paid return envelope, which must be postmarked by July 7 at 8 p.m. ET.
Registered, unaffiliated (Independent) voters, will receive an application with a postage paid return envelope to vote from home. These voters will need to fill out and return the application to their county clerk by June 30 in order to receive a mail-in ballot to vote from home.
In-person voting will also be available at certain polling locations on July 7. If you do vote in-person, you will vote by filling out a paper, provisional ballot – not at a voting machine.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
What should I do if I want to vote from home?
If you are already registered as a Republican or Democrat, you will automatically receive a ballot in the mail to vote from home. Fill it out and mail it back. It must be postmarked no later than July 7 at 8 p.m. ET.
You can also place the ballot in a Secure Ballot Drop Box in your county by July 7. You CANNOT return your mail-in ballot to a polling location.
What should I do if I am an Independent voter and want to vote from home?
If you are not affiliated with a political party (Independent), you will receive an application to request a ballot to vote from home. Fill it out with your preferred political affiliation (Democrat or Republican) and return it to your county clerk no later than June 30. Then, you will receive a ballot to vote from home, which must be postmarked no later than July 7.
Voters may return to an unaffiliated (Independent) status following the primary election by completing and returning a Party Declaration form to your County Commissioner of Registration.
When will I receive my ballot or application?
You should begin checking your mailbox to see if your ballot or application has arrived.
Where are my Drop Box and Polling Locations?
You can find a list of Drop Box locations here. You can find your polling location here.
How do I fill out and return my mail-in ballot?
Filling out your ballot is simple! 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. If you are a registered Republican, your ballot will be labeled Republican. If you are a registered Democrat, your ballot will be labeled Democrat. The ballot includes instructions on how many people you can vote for in each office category. Completely color in in the circles under the names of candidates you want to vote for. If you happen to receive two ballots, you may only fill out and return ONE ballot.
- Step 2: To ensure your vote remains private and is counted, put your ballot in the smaller of the two envelopes.
- Step 3: On the smaller envelope, fill out the flap with your name, address, political party 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.
What if I am not registered to vote?
Unfortunately it is too late to register to vote. The deadline to register was June 16. If you need to track your registration application, you can do so here.
What if I am a registered, affiliated voter - but not registered as a Democrat or Republican?
If you are already affiliated with a political party, such as the Green Party, it is too late to change your affiliation to Democrat or Republican and you will not be able to participate in the July 7 primary.
Will I receive a sample ballot?
Voters will not receive a sample ballot prior to the primary election. For more information on primary election candidates, visit the New Jersey Division of Elections here.
Will my vote be counted if I vote in-person?
On July 7, 2020, the date of the NJ Primary Election, there will be limited polling places open in each municipality.
If you do vote in-person, you will vote by filling out a paper, provisional ballot – not at a voting machine.
Only voters with disabilities who cannot vote from home will have access to in-person voting machines at the designated municipal poll location(s). Before accessing the machine, s/he must sign a certification of their disability, though will not be asked to identify a specific disability.
Is voting from home secure?
Voting from home is safe and your privacy is protected. When your local election board receives your ballot, it will be removed and separated from its outer envelope so no one can see how you have voted. This process is tried and tested and some New Jerseyans have been voting from home safely and securely for years.
If you'd like to share this information with a loved one or friend, you can download our flyer with voting information in English here or Spanish here.