Monmouth County Clerk Christine Giordano Hanlon announced it has come to the attention of her office that some residents in the county are receiving pre-filled vote by mail applications in their mailbox. The applications are pre-printed with voter information including name and address.
In a press release issued Aug. 24, Hanlon said the situation has led many voters to question why they received these applications, how their information was obtained and who sent the applications to them.
She said the situation has especially caused confusion for voters who are already on the list to receive a mail-in ballot for the Nov. 2 general election but regardless, received these pre-filled applications.
Hanlon said the entity mailing the pre-filled applications is a nonprofit organization called the Voter Participation Center of Washington, D.C. The applications are not being sent to voters from the Monmouth County Clerk’s Office or from any of Monmouth County’s election offices, according to the press release.
The Voter Participation Center continues to send voters a packet including a letter,
a prepaid return envelope addressed to the county clerk’s election office and a pre-
filled vote by mail application with the voter’s name and address.
The packets can be identified by the top right of the form and the bottom left of the form including the tags “VCP_NJD” or “CVI_NJD.” The back of the form includes “it’s easy as 1-2-3 instructions” with the name of the voter and mailing address usually pre-filled. The
letters are signed by Tom Lopach, president of the Voter Participation Center.
“We have received many calls and inquires to our office and have seen many posts on
social media by residents concerned about receiving these pre-filled vote by mail
applications,” Hanlon said.
“It is important that voters understand these applications are not official election mail from Monmouth County’s election offices and are not mandatory to be completed in order to vote in the 2021 general election. Voters have a choice as to whether to complete the applications and send them in,” she said.
Voter data is obtained by organizations, candidates or political committees from the
Statewide Voter Registration System, which is under the direction of the New Jersey
Division of Elections. Certain voter data, such as name and address, is considered to
be an open public record according to New Jersey law, according to the press release.
Voters who receive these pre-filled applications, but are already on the list to receive
a mail-in ballot for the Nov. 2 general election and/or for all future elections can
disregard and discard the applications, according to Hanlon.
These voters would have recently received a letter from the county clerk’s office advising them of their status. These voters can also call the county clerk’s election office at 732-431-7790 during normal business hours to confirm they are on the list to receive a mail-in ballot for the Nov. 2 general election.
Voters who are not on the list to receive a mail-in ballot and who receive this type of
pre-filled vote by mail application can choose to discard it or to sign the application and submit it to the Monmouth County clerk’s election office to obtain a mail-in ballot for the Nov. 2 general election.
If the application is properly completed and the signature on the application matches
the voter signature on file in the Statewide Voter Registration System, the mail-in
ballot will be issued to the voter.
When completing the application, a voter has the option of checking the box at the top of the application to receive a mail-in ballot for one election or for all future elections, according to the press release.
“I encourage any voters with questions to contact my election office at 732-431-7790 or by email to ClerkOfElections@co.monmouth.nj.us,” Hanlon said.