Opinion: Be aware of important New Jersey Primary Election changes

Voting on Election Day, voting ballot

The League of Women Voters of the Princeton Area reminds the public of changes to the upcoming July 7 Primary Election. As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, this election will be conducted primarily with mail-in ballots with limited in-person voting options available. Here is a summary of the changes in place for this election:

How to get a ballot:
• You should be receiving your mail-in ballots very soon. The ballots will automatically be sent by county election offices to all active registered Republican and Democratic voters and have prepaid postage.
• You must be affiliated with a political party to vote in a primary election. All unaffiliated voters and inactive Republican and Democratic voters will receive a vote-by-mail application. It will have pre-paid postage.
• The deadline to apply by mail to receive a mail-in ballot is June 30. Your county clerk must receive mailed applications by that date.
How to vote using your mail-in ballot:
• You can return your mail-in ballot by placing it in your mailbox using the U.S. Postal Service. The ballot must be postmarked on or before July 7 and received by the Board of Elections by 8 p.m. on July 14 to be considered
• There will also be some secure ballot drop box locations in each county. Specific locations of these boxes will be announced by the county clerks in the next few weeks. If you submit your mail-in ballot using a drop box, you must return the ballot on or before July 7 prior to 8 p.m.
• You can also return your mail-in ballot in person to your county Board of Elections by 8 p.m. on July 7.

Can I vote at a polling place?
• Each municipality will have some polling places, but there will be fewer than the normal amount, as voting by mail is strongly recommended for public health reasons.
• Polling place locations will be announced June 15 and voters will receive mailed notification of polling locations. Voters will not receive sample ballots.
• CDC guidelines for polling place safety and sanitation will be followed. Those who vote at polling locations will vote using a paper provisional ballot.
• Voters with disabilities may vote on ADA accessible voting machines at the polling places.
• Voters cannot return voted mail-in ballots to polling places.

The League of Women Voters of the Princeton Area encourages active and informed participation in our democracy. Voters should pay close attention to these election changes and deadlines to ensure their voices are heard and their votes count. For information specific to your location, visit www.state.nj.us/state/elections/election-information-2020.shtml.

The Princeton Area League of Women Voters has members — both men and women — from Kendall Park, Kingston, Montgomery, Plainsboro, Princeton, Rocky Hill, South Brunswick and West Windsor. New members and volunteers are welcome. For information, visit www.lwvprinceton.org

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