South River clerk discusses voting protocols before upcoming election

SOUTH RIVER–With citizens across the country having to use mail-in ballots this election season, South River Borough Clerk Bill Bray informed residents about the voting process and upcoming drop-off locations.

Bray said the ballots have been mailed out, and it appears that many people in the borough have received their ballots.

“There were some limited reports of 20 instances where ballots are sent out without a ballot in the ballot package,” Bray said. “This is countywide. I’m unaware of anyone locally that has happened to, but there is a number on the ballot package that people can call to get a replacement ballot.”

Bray said the borough’s ballot dropbox has been installed; however, the borough has not unlocked it yet because it’s waiting for the video camera to be installed which is going to happen very soon. Then, the borough will be able to unlock its ballot box.

“In the meantime, people can use other drop boxes. We have a list on [our] website, they can send their ballot back to the Board of Elections through the mail,” Bray said. “Judging by the delivery of the ballots now might be a good time. They seem to be operating efficiently, where they can hold on to their ballot and bring it to their polling place on Election Day.”

Generally speaking, Bray said if a resident lives north of the railroad tracks, he or she would go to the VFW Hall located at 31 Reid St. If a resident lives south of the railroad tracks, he or she would go into St. Mary’s Coptic School, located at 80 David St.

Council President Raymond Eppinger, along with Council Donna Balazs, also spoke about what residents should look out for when filling out their ballot sheet on Sept. 28 during the council meeting via video conference.

“[Some residents] believe that they’re going to be able to show up on Election Day and if they show up at the VFW or at the Coptic school that they will be able to vote on a machine,” Eppinger said, “but [in fact] if you show up and say ‘I lost my ballot’ the only thing you’re going to get is a different set of paper which would be a provisional ballot. There’s nobody voting on a machine.”

For the majority of voters, Bray said they have two ways to vote. The first is by submitting a paper mail-in ballot, and the second is by submitting a paper provisional ballot.

“There will be voting machines at the polling place, but these are for disabled voters. So, for example, someone who is blind, or someone who is paraplegic and can’t fill out a ballot because they can’t operate a writing utensil,” Bray said. “So I would encourage everyone to send in the mail-in ballot. There are many different options to drop it off, go onto our website, we have the link posted there where you can register to track your ballot and ensure that your vote gets back to the Board of Elections and is going to be counted.”

Bray said the Board of Elections is going to begin counting ballots 10 days before Election Day, which is on Nov. 3.

Eppinger asked Bray to explain how residents can track their mail-in ballot.

“Through the New Jersey Secretary of State, we have a link to their webpage and you can register so you can track your ballot,” Bray said. “On your ballot package shows a unique number that it has which helps to aid in that tracking so that you can make sure it gets received and accepted, which means they have verified your identity and your signature.

“When you open up your packet there’s this inner envelope that goes into it and it has this tab you fill out with your certification, they verify the ballot; they rip that off so the envelope containing ballot comes anonymous. Once your ballot is accepted it goes in the bin and waits to be opened and counted,” he said.

Due to the mail-in ballot coming with paperwork, Balazs asked voters to follow the directions carefully. Citizens who forget to sign one spot or pull off the tab, their votes would be considered incorrectly filled out and disqualified.

“Don’t forget to look at both sides of the ballot because on the flip side there is the Board of Education elections and three public questions. So … remember … there are additional things to vote on besides what’s on the front page,” Eppinger said.

For more information, visit or call 732-257-1999, ext. 525.

Contact Vashti Harris at

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