Vote by Mail
The races are tight in New Jersey this year…
Your voice matters!
Fill out the ballot appropriately and have it submitted by the voting deadline – 8 pm on November 6th.
REMEMBER: If you applied for Vote by Mail, you must submit your ballot by mail. You can only vote at the polls via provisional ballot.
Voting by mail is easy!
Download the form below.
Relevant 2018 Dates for New Jersey Vote-by-Mail (VBM)
September 17: Deadline for Preparation of Official General Election Ballot for Printing (50 days before election) N.J.S.A. 19:14-1* County Commissioner of Registration is to provide notice to the two County Chairpersons of the date to inspect voting machines after they have been prepared for the upcoming election. This date will vary from county to county. N.J.S.A. 19:48-6.
September 22: Commencement of Mailing of Mail-In Ballots for General Election (45 days before election) N.J.S.A. 19:63-5, N.J.S.A. 19:63-9.
September 24/25: Voting Begins.
October 16: Voter Registration Deadline for General Election (21 days before election) N.J.S.A. 19:31-6.
October 30: Deadline to apply for a Mail-In Ballot by Mail for General Election (not less than 7 days prior to election) N.J.S.A. 19:63-3 by 4:00 PM.
October 31: Mailing of Sample Ballots for General Election (on or before 12 noon on Wednesday preceding the election) N.J.S.A. 19:14-25
November 2: Deadline for Application to Receive General Election Mail-In Ballots by Electronic Means for Qualified Overseas Civilian and Military Voters (4th day before election) N.J.S.A. 19:59-4
November 5: by 3:00 p.m. Deadline for In-Person Mail-In Ballot Applications for General Election (up to 3:00 p.m. on the day before election) N.J.S.A. 19:63-3
November 6: General Election (Tuesday after first Monday in November) N.J.S.A. 19:2-3, N.J.S.A. 19:15-2. Polls are open from 6:00 AM to 8:00 PM.
November 6: Deadline for Submission of General Election Mail-In Ballots to County Boards of Election (by 8:00 p.m. on the day of election) N.J.S.A. 19:63-16
New Jersey Vote-by-Mail 101
There are NO limits on the number of VBM applications any one person can assist in collecting.
Registered New Jersey voters, regardless of county in which they reside, are the only people who can assist a VBM voter with their application OR serve as a ballot messenger OR serve as a ballot bearer.
Candidates are permitted to assist and collect as many VBM applications as they’d like BUT are prohibited from messengering or serving as a bearer of a ballot other than their own.
Current law says a single New Jersey voter can messenger up to 3 VBM ballots and can serve as bearer for up to 3 VBM voters — two separate things although in most cases the messenger and the bearer are the same person. The technical definition of a messenger is someone bringing the VBM ballot to a voter. The bearer is the person responsible for transporting a ballot to a mailbox or hand-delivering it to the county Board of Elections.
Do NOT put stamps on VBM applications or VBM ballots as a favor to the voter. It is against the law to provide a thing of value to a voter. Some counties already have pre-paid postage on VBM applications and/or the VBM ballot. This issue should be addressed in the next round of reforms.
As soon as the ballots have been sent, County Clerks can then release the most current data for VBM applicants so campaigns can communicate with those voters. Be sure to have your recurring Open Public Records Act (OPRA) requests ready to be emailed to your County Clerk on September 24, 2018 and going forward, so you can track all new applicants and whether they have sent back their ballots. Since each county administers VBM differently than others, some counties offer secure login to view daily reports of ballots sent back. Check with your County Clerk to sign up for these updates as soon as they become available. Remember, people will start sending their VBM ballots back the week of September 24.
Be sure to remind every VBM voter to sign their ballot as instructed or else their vote won’t be counted. Election law does not recognize Power of Attorney for signing ballots. Voters must sign their own ballot or else make it known to the county Superintendent of Elections (aka Commissioner of Registration) that their signature has changed due to medical condition.
If you sign up to Vote-by-Mail and change your mind and want to vote at the polls, you won’t be able to vote using the machine. You will have to vote provisionally at your polling place, which is exactly the same ballot as a VBM ballot. Every polling place has a supply of provisional ballots. Once signed and sealed, your ballot will be placed in a red sealed bag which will be delivered to your county Board of Elections as soon as the polls close. Your ballot will be counted within 2-3 days of the election, in accordance with the law.
Changes to the New Jersey Vote-by-Mail Law
Apply once on the new application and vote-by-mail forever. Simply check the first box in the upper left corner of the VBM application and you will automatically receive all ballots in the mail going forward for every election. You will no longer have to reapply every calendar year to vote this way.
If you applied to vote by mail or voted by mail in the 2016 general election, you will automatically receive all election ballots by mail from here on out, unless you send written notification to your County Clerk to opt-out of voting by mail. While state statute does not directly deal with this deadline, you can assume the latest you can opt-out is October 16, 2018, which is the deadline to register to vote. Each county clerk prints their poll books differently — some are printed in-house and some through an outside vendor — thus the difference in processing timeline.
The deadline for returning your mail-in ballot is by the close of the polls at 8 PM on Election Day (hand-delivered to your county Board of Elections) OR they can be postmarked by Election Day and received within two days after the election.
If you change your address after having applied or voted by mail in the 2016 general election, you will need to reapply to vote-by-mail in your new county. The County Clerk handles VBM applications while the county Board of Elections handles VBM ballots.