Princeton Municipal Building Among Voter Drop-Box Sites
By Anne Levin
When it comes to voting by mail in the upcoming general election on November 3, individual states have their own rules. In accordance with Gov. Phil Murphy’s Executive Order 177 declaring the election as a primarily vote-by-mail event, New Jersey is one of nine states (and the District of Columbia) that will send ballots to most registered voters automatically.
Ballots are scheduled to be mailed to residents by October 5. Mercer County officials are urging residents to make sure their voting information is up to date to ensure they receive a ballot. “In an election where so many people will vote by mail, the [County] Clerk’s office must have current information, such as the correct mailing address, for every voter,” said Mercer County Executive Brian M. Hughes in a letter to residents.
In a release from County Clerk Paula Sollami Covello, it is recommended that people who will be away between late September and Election Day should apply to vote by mail specifying the mailing address required. Sollami Covello also recommends that those who have a permanent vote-by-mail status should make sure that the address on file is correct by calling her office at (609) 989-6494 or 6495.
The ballots received can be returned by mail, postmarked no later than November 3; by depositing in a secure drop box; or by handing it directly to a poll worker on Election Day. So far, drop box locations include the Princeton Municipal Building at 400 Witherspoon Street, the Hopewell Township Administration Building at 201 Washington Crossing-Pennington Road in Titusville, the Trenton Courthouse Annex at 209 South Broad Street, the Hamilton Golf Center at 5 Justice Samuel Alito Way, and the East Windsor Municipal Court Building at 80 One Mile Road. More locations are to be added.
For those who opt to vote in person, each municipality is required to open at least one polling site and counties must ensure that at least half of their polling places are open on Election Day. Those who vote in person will do so on a provisional (paper) ballot or in a voting machine if a voter is disabled. Additional polling places will be determined by the Mercer County Board of Elections.
The deadline to register to vote in time for the election is October 13. The deadline for the County Clerk’s office to receive a mailed-in vote-by-mail application is October 23. Residents can also walk in to the Mercer County Clerk’s Office to request a mail-in ballot until Election Day at 8 p.m. All ballots sent in must be postmarked no later than November 3, and received by the Board of Elections no later than November 10. Voters can also return their ballots personally to the poll workers at their polling place.
For a complete list of polling and drop box locations, visit www.mercercounty.org/boards-commissions/board-of-elections after September 8.
“Holding a general election during a pandemic, especially one that’s expected to generate a large voter turnout, is a challenge but it’s one that can be met,” said Hughes. “The state has presented a plan that provides for safe and secure voting, and County elections officials already are hard at work putting the necessary pieces in place.”