Guide to NJ’s 2020 Vote by Mail Election

Patch published a detailed synopsis of how New Jersey’s first vote-by-mail elections are going to work. 2020 is the first year that mail-in ballot voting will be taking place statewide.

Vote by Mail ballots can be returned by the USPS, placed in ballot boxes Gov. Murphy is situating around the state, turned in at polling locations and at county offices.

You can also cast your vote by visiting a polling location, but the ballot will be provisional since the staff will not be able to tell whether you have already sent in your mail-in ballot. read more

Government investigates vote suppression back to 2004 and presidential commission proposes protections

Presidential Commission on Elections Report 2014Cuyahoga County Board of Elections’ Deputy Director Pat McDonald offered testimony to the Presidential Commission on Elections on ways that voter registration and voting procedures could be revamped to make voting both easier and more secure. The commission’s findings on “The American Voting Experience” were presented to President Obama in 2014.

Part of a package presented to Congress on 14 December 2004 is the sworn affidavit of Sherole Eaton, a Deputy Director of the Hocking County, Ohio, Board of Elections. She describes the experience of voter machine tampering by Michael, a consulting company employee, who in 2004 entered the Board of Elections office claiming that the computers on which voting results had been stored, needed to be fixed – and proceeded to dismantle both primary and backup computers. The incident happened shortly before a planned recount was due to take place.

Obama registering voters in 1992
AP photo supplied by Obama Presidential Campaign via The Obama Diary

A detail-rich article on systemic vote suppression with numerous supportive references is Eric Zuesse’s How the 2004 Presidential ‘Election’ Was Stolen by George W. Bush published on 25 October 2016. Well worth a read.

2016 Voter Resources: register, get help with voting problems, check out candidates

unidos-app logoiTunes App: #Unidosapp – The Next Generation of American Voters
One-stop app for the Next Generation of American voters to connect with the issues that matter to you in the 2016 presidential election. Find out how to register, vote, and get help with all of your presidential election questions. Get it on iTunes

cada voto cuenta logoCada Voto Cuenta Volunteer sign-up
LatinoJustice’s Nonpartisan Cada Voto Cuenta Election Monitoring Voter Protection Initiative is recruiting bilingual Spanish-speaking legal volunteers in five states.

voting assistance flyerOn Election Day, 4000 CommonCause Election Protection community and lawyer volunteers will be ready to provide on the spot assistance on Election Day to voters everywhere in the US.

Voting hotlines
866-OUR-VOTE (866-687-8683) – English language hotline
888-VE-Y-VOTA (888-839-8682) – Spanish language hotline
888-API-VOTE (888-274-8683) – Chinese, Vietnamese, Korean, Bengali, Hindi, Urdu, Tagalog
1-844-418-1682 – Arabic language hotline

Call hotline numbers to learn where to go and what you need to do in order to vote. Also, report on problems like long lines, faulty voting machines and any other obstructions you encounter while attempting to vote.

Please help spread the word about the hotlines by:

  • Printing out this poster and distributing them in your community – on community bulletin boards, at your place of worship, schools or ask businesses if they will put them in their window.
  • Share this resource on social media!
  • Questions If you have questions about being an Election Protection volunteer check out our FAQ or email Keshia Morris.
  • read more

    Must-read on the sacredness of voting

    FlagOn December 14, the New York Times published Op-ed Columnist Charles M. Blow‘s opinion America, Who Are We? Mr. Blow writes on “Politics, public opinion and social justice” and his thoughts are deep and persuasive.

    Last week I spoke at a seminary and graduate school in New York about the protests following the grand jury decisions in the Michael Brown and Eric Garner cases.

    It was invigorating and inspiring to be among so many young people with so much passion about social justice, young people beginning to feel their power as change agents and brimming to exercise it by disrupting the status quo.

    However, I couldn’t help noticing a disturbing sentiment echoed in a few of the questions about the value of voting. One gentleman even said something to this effect: “It doesn’t make a difference whom you put in office because the office is corrupt.”

    I couldn’t disagree more. Voting is not some fruitless, patrician artifact from a bygone era. It is not for those devoid of consciousness and deprived of truth. It is an incredibly important part of civic engagement. No politicians are perfect, but neither are they all the same. The sameness argument is an instrument of deceit employed by the puppet masters to drive down the electoral participation of young idealists.

    We don’t vote for people because they are the exact embodiment of our values, but because they are likely to be the most responsive to them.

    Also, there has been too much blood spilled, too many bodies buried in the struggle to expand the franchise of voting in America for us to cavalierly shrug it off. And the effort to constrict the pool of eligible voters is too well organized and too well financed for anyone to see his or her vote as lacking value.

    And yet, I do understand the bulging frustration that the political system can foster.

    I understand the feelings of these young protesters who are chafing at our current representative democracy and yearning for — yelling for — more direct democracy in which “the people” make direct demands and direct decisions, possibly circumventing an admittedly polarized-to-the-point-of-paralysis federal legislative system.

    Protests are a form of direct democracy.

    But direct democracy works best at the local level, like town hall meetings. It is far more challenging and unwieldy when national policy changes are sought.

    I understand the fundamental questions being raised in these protests and others. There is an emotional declaration: The system is broken. There is also a moral, philosophical question: Who are we?

    Are we — or better yet, should we be — a nation that tortures detainees, or targets and kills American citizens with drones, or has broad discretion to spy on the American public? Should we be a country hamstrung over how to deal with millions of undocumented immigrants, or our gun violence epidemic, or our growing income inequality? Should we be a country that accepts bias in its criminal justice system, a country of mass incarceration and a country where so many young black men can be killed by the police?

    Who are we?

    That is a very real question. Who are we now and who do we aspire to be? Do we aspire to the ideas enshrined in our founding documents? Do we truly believe the Declaration of Independence?

    Continue reading the main storyContinue reading the main storyContinue reading the main story
    “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.”

    If so, then we must do as the Dr. Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. exhorted this nation to do in his Mountaintop speech: “Be true to what you said on paper.”

    King continued: “somewhere I read of the freedom of assembly. Somewhere I read of the freedom of speech. Somewhere I read of the freedom of press. Somewhere I read that the greatness of America is the right to protest for right.”

    He read those things in the First Amendment of the Constitution.

    America is still straining, against corporatist, elitist, exclusionary forces, to be true in practice to what is clearly written on paper. Representative democracy is not a perfect form of government. It can be fragile and subject to corruption, the only guard against which is unwavering vigilance. But it is a grand idea, exquisite because of its fragility, and deserving of every effort to make it more perfect.

    Who are we? We are America — impossibly strong, illogically optimistic, eternally hopeful. This is a laboratory in which one of the greatest experiments in human history is still underway. We can be whoever we want to be, dare to be, dream of being.

    We are the young people in the streets, who shout out and die-in for the right to be treated equally and to live freely. We are people who must know that the voice and the vote are mutual amplifiers, not mutually exclusive. read more

    How to vote in NJ before Election Day

    We can vote early in NJ even though we don’t have what is technically called “early voting,” because we can vote by paper ballot. There are three ways to vote early the week before Election Day:
    Be informed - voteMail in the Application to Vote by Mail.

  • Application must be received by the Tuesday before Election Day (7 days before Election Day).
  • Your paper ballot will be delivered to you by the USPS.
  • Fill out and send back the paper ballot by USPS, and your 100% full-fledged, legal vote will be cast.
  • To be counted, the ballot must be received by the Board of Elections by 8pm on Election Day.
  • read more

    Special New Jersey voting options for 2012 election

    This will be updated as new information becomes available. Please also see Election 2012 Voter FAQ
    Nov 2, 2012 New Jersey State has changed some of the voting rules to help people cast their votes in this election. They include: you can vote early at county clerk offices; you can vote by email or fax; a messenger can bring any number of ballots into the Board of Election. See the State Directive below or visit the League of Women Voters website – they’ve got the best information I’ve seen.

    Nov 1, 2012 I learned from Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno’s staff today that they are working with County Clerks and Election Board officials throughout the state to create a contingency plan which ensures that people affected by Hurricane Sandy get the chance to cast their votes in the general election. Until the state-wide plan is announced, each county is handling the voting process a bit differently. You can vote in person at many County Clerk Offices now through Nov 5. If your polling location will be closed on Nov 6 due to Hurricane Sandy, you will be given the chance to vote at a different polling location or by provisional ballot. Learn more about the New Jersey State contingency voting plans by checking with your County Clerk or local Democratic Office.


    • New Jersey State Directive Easing Restrictions on Voters
    • Remember that in New Jersey voting booths, you must individually select each candidate you want to vote for. Be sure to select ALL of your desired candidates before pressing the “Cast Vote” button on the machine.
    • Are you ready to vote? Check here.
    • Voter intimidation is a crime. Call the FBI’s voter intimidation hotline @ 202-514-1888 if someone tries to discourage you from voting.
    • League of Women Voters of New Jersey voter assistance hotline 1-800-792-VOTE(8683)

    Three Ways to Vote Early in New Jersey’s November 2012 General Election

    • It’s important to note that Vote By Mail, voting in person at your County Clerk’s office, and early voting are the same basic procedure in New Jersey, and use the same forms. All three procedures are technically labeled as Vote by Mail, even though the USPS mail service isn’t involved in any way when you vote in person at your County Clerk’s Office.
    • There are two forms needed to Vote by Mail: 1) the application to Vote by Mail and 2) the Mail-in Ballot itself
      1. To vote in person, or vote early, at your County Clerk’s Office, simply visit the office. Staff will assist you with filling out the correct forms.
      2. Or, you can send a messenger to the County Clerk’s Office with your Vote by Mail application filled out and signed in Item 12, who will pick up a ballot for you. After you fill out and sign your ballot, the messenger will return with it and hand it in to the County Clerk. That ballot is your vote. For this election only, the number of ballots one messenger can bring in has been relaxed; there is no limit on the number of ballots. And, the messenger doesn’t need to be a resident of the same county as the voter.
      3. Voters displaced by Hurricane Sandy can vote by fax or email. Call your County Clerk or Board of Election Office for more information
      4. Please note: if you need a Vote By Mail/early voting application and ballot brought to you, or a ride see below
    • Special in-person/early voting hours for the 2012 General Election
    • Bergen County extended hours
      • 1 Bergen County Plaza, Hackensack NJ County Clerk Elections Division 201-336-7020
      • Friday, Nov 2 from 9am-4pm
      • Sat & Sun Nov 3&4 from 9am-3pm
      • Monday, Nov 5 from 9am-4pm

      Passaic County extended hours

      • 401 Grand Street, Paterson NJ County Clerk Elections Division 973-881-4127
      • Friday, Nov 2 from 8:30am-8pm
      • Sat & Sun Nov 3&4 from 9am-4:30pm

      Essex County extended hours

      • 465 Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd, Newark, NJ 973.621.4920 X227
      • Friday, Nov 2 until 5:30pm
      • Sat-Mon Nov 3-5 from 8:30am-4:30pm

      List of County Clerks throughout New Jersey

      Need a ballot, or a ride?
      The organizations listed here will bring you a Vote By Mail/early voting application and ballot or help you get one. Check with your local Democratic Organization too – if they’ve got enough manpower they will certainly be glad to help.
      Passaic County Democrats will bring you your ballot and return it to the Board of Elections for you. They will also make every effort to pick up VBM applications and bring your ballot the same or following day. Or, you can fill out a VBM application at any of these locations 668 McBride Avenue in Woodland Park / 598 Van Houten Avenue in Clifton / 301 E 18th Street in Paterson, or 75 Union Avenue in Rutherford. Get help by calling 973-279-4647 or 201-933-0333

      Please also check

      Election 2012 Voter FAQ
      Report on voter woes in Bergen County
      Sandy in New Jersey – News & General Resources

      After-Sandy help in NJ towns (food etc) & info read more