Casting Your Ballot

How to return your ballot.

Amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, Governor Phil Murphy signed executive order 179 which creates a modified vote-by-mail (VBM) election for the November 3rd General Election.

The order suspends the sending of sample ballots and requires that each county’s elections officials send VBM ballots with pre-paid postage to all active registered voters for the General Election. Additionally, every voter will also have the option to either return their ballot through a secure drop box or turn in their ballot at a polling location on Election Day.

The executive order requires a minimum of at least one polling place in each municipality and a minimum of 50 percent of polling places in each county to provide New Jersey voters with access to in-person voting opportunities, including accommodations for voters with disabilities.

All ballots will be mailed from County Clerks by Monday, October 5.

Voters will be able return ballots:

  • By mail
  • By depositing it in a secure drop box
  • By handing it directly to a poll worker at a polling place on Election Day

All ballots being returned through the U.S. Postal System must:

  • Carry a postmark by November 3
  • Be received by the County Clerk no later than 8:00 p.m. on November 10

Ballots that lack postmarks due to postal error and received by 8:00 p.m. on Thursday, November 5 will be considered valid.

In addition, the Governor’s executive order  requires the following:

  • Each municipality will be required to open at least one in-person polling site;
  • All counties must ensure that at least 50 percent of their total polling places are open on Election Day;
  • Any voter who chooses to cast their vote in-person will do so on a provisional ballot.
  • All individuals with disabilities will have access to an ADA-conforming voting machine.

All public schools will close for in-person instruction on November 3rd to allow counties to use their buildings as polling locations, if necessary. Polling locations will be required to follow public health standards, including ensuring six feet of distance, requiring poll workers to wear face coverings and gloves, frequent sanitization of high-touch areas, and providing sanitization materials to all individuals at a polling place.

Essex County ballot box