Tag Archives: election

New Jersey Primary Election Information

The following post was written by LWVNJ intern Susan Pagano

Primary

2017 is going to be a big election season in New Jersey. New Jersey voters will select a new governor this year, and all 120 seats in the state legislature are up for grabs as well. It’s important for New Jersey voters to get out and vote in the primary and general elections, and the League of Women Voters of New Jersey is here to offer important information for voters who want to participate in the process.

The primary election is quickly approaching and will be held on Tuesday, June 6, 2017, but many voters are confused about what the primary election is and how they can participate. A primary election is one that allows members of a political party to choose a candidate to represent them in an upcoming election. This means that the winning candidates from the primary election will go on to represent the political party in the general election on November 7, 2017. New Jersey is a closed primary state, which means that only voters who are registered members of a political party may participate in nominating that party’s candidates.

Therefore, since New Jersey is a closed primary state, there are some important deadlines to keep in mind for voters who want to participate in the upcoming primary election. There are two main requirements for New Jersey voters to take part in the June 6th primary: 1) you must be registered to vote; and 2) you must declare your party affiliation. The deadline to register to vote is May 16, 2017, so qualified voters who are currently unregistered have until this date to complete and return their Voter Registration Application.

Voters who are registered to vote, but are not affiliated with a political party, will need to declare their party affiliation in order to vote in the primary. Unaffiliated voters can register with a political party up to and including Primary Election Day. There are two options for currently unaffiliated voters to declare their political party affiliation. You may either file a Party Affiliation Declaration Form with the Commissioner of Registration/Superintendent of Elections for your county by mail or in person, or if you choose to, you can also declare your affiliation at your polling place on Primary Election Day.

Voters who are already affiliated with a political party are ready to vote in the June 6th primary election! If you are unsure of your party affiliation, you can call your County Commissioner of Registration/Superintendent of Elections and ask. However, if currently affiliated voters wish to switch their party affiliation before the primary, they must file a Party Affiliation Declaration Form with the Commissioner of Registration/ Superintendent of Elections for their county at least 55 days before a primary election. The deadline to change party affiliation is April 12, 2017, and the form must be delivered by mail or in person.

Once registered voters have declared their party affiliation, it’s important to know who is running for your party. For a list of all the 279 candidates who have qualified for the June 6th primary for the Republican and Democratic nominations in each district, see this. If you don’t know your district, you can find it here.

It’s also important to remember that only the Democratic and Republican parties hold primary elections. The other recognized parties in New Jersey do not hold primary elections and instead select their candidates in a variety of ways. If you are a registered member of another party, you can participate in the convention of that party, but you cannot vote in either the Democratic or Republican Primary.

The League of Women Voters of New Jersey hopes that all New Jersey voters vote in the upcoming primary election on June 6, 2017. Polls will be open from 6am to 8 pm, and you can find your polling location here. If you have any questions, please call the League at 1-800-792-VOTE (8683) or email us at contact@lwvnj.org.

 

Video

“Storming for the Vote: Hurricane Sandy and the Election”

The League of Women Voters of New Jersey has produced a documentary called “Storming for the Vote: Hurricane Sandy and the Election.” The film tells the story of the extraordinary efforts of advocates, government officials, and an energized and motivated public working together following the devastation of Hurricane Sandy to ensure citizens displaced or disrupted by the storm were able to exercise their right to vote.

On October 29, 2012, Hurricane Sandy hit New Jersey with an incredible force. By the next morning, one week before the election, millions of New Jersey residents were without power, displaced from their homes, and overwhelmed by the storm. Some 800 polling places throughout the state were without power.

“We never faced a situation like that before,” said Kerry Butch, Executive Director of the League of Women Voters of New Jersey. “Election officials were without power, new directives were being issued from the state almost daily, and our voter hotline was ringing off the hook with voters concerned about not being able to cast a ballot on Election Day. We knew it was important to document.”

Award winning filmmaker Christina Eliopoulos interviews policy experts from the ACLU-NJ, Disability Rights New Jersey, The Hall Institute for Public Policy, the Lowenstein Center for the Public Interest, and the League of Women Voters of New Jersey. Dramatic news footage and videos from citizen journalists are combined with candid interviews with voters from across the state.

The organizations featured in the film tell the stories of hundreds of thousands of people assisted in the aftermath of the storm.

“More than 13,000 New Jersey residents called the Election Protection national hotline for assistance in the aftermath of Sandy,” said Catherine Weiss, chair of the Center for the Public Interest at Lowenstein Sandler, which ran the hotline covering New Jersey. “Their determination to vote even while thousands were displaced from their homes set a model for all citizens to follow.”

“In the days after Sandy, the ACLU-NJ’s office was inundated with calls from residents who were determined to vote, even though they had been displaced and their lives thrown into chaos,” said Alexander Shalom, senior staff attorney. “This film shows the extraordinary efforts that public officials and citizens took – amid flooded streets and flattened homes — to preserve democracy.”

“Disability Rights New Jersey through this film produced by League of Women Voters, highlights the additional struggles and barriers of individuals with disabilities, an already underrepresented voting group, in their efforts to obtain access to the vote following the storm” said Mary Ciccone, Disability Rights New Jersey’s managing attorney.

Election officials from Hoboken and Ocean County, two areas hard-hit by the storm, are also featured in the film.

“The League of Women Voters did an exceptional job producing a documentary that captured the emotional and devastating impact that Sandy had on our County as well as showcasing the great spirit of our residents to cast their votes despite the obstacles faced after the storm,” said Ocean County Clerk Scott Colabella.

A number of screenings and panel discussions are scheduled to coincide with the one year anniversary of the storm and can be found on the League’s website, http://www.lwvnj.org.

“There was no dress rehearsal for this situation and election officials had to think quickly,” said Butch. “Watching this documentary a year after the storm, I am still amazed by the resiliency, passion, and dedication of our residents, officials, and organizations.”

The League of Women Voters of New Jersey has created a community discussion guide, available at http://www.lwvnj.org, which is useful to groups and organizations wishing to arrange screenings and lead discussions. It is also particularly useful to teachers that wish to screen the film in the classroom. If you are interested in holding a screening, please contact the League of Women Voters of New Jersey at 609-394-3303 or jburns@lwvnj.org.

Hurricane Sandy and the Election

The election will be held Tuesday, November 6, as planned. Polls are open from 6 am – 8 pm.

Displaced voters and first responders have multiple options to make voting easier.

1. Vote early at your County Clerk’s Office:

All County Clerk’s offices are mandated to remain open, at a minimum, from 8:30 am to 4:30 pm today, Sunday November 4. They will also be open tomorrow, Monday, November 5. Voters are encouraged to take advantage of the extended hours offered at their County Clerk’s office.

Voters may go in person to their County Clerk and vote using a “Vote by Mail” ballot. You will be handed that ballot right there at the office and be able to fill it out in person. The deadline to vote in person using a “vote by mail” ballot at your county clerk office is Monday, November 5, 3 pm.

FIND YOUR COUNTY CLERK (Please Note: The Ocean County Clerk information listed on that link is incorrect. Because of the storm they are located in the Ocean County Administration Building, Rm 116, 101 Hooper Ave, Toms River, NJ. They also have a second location at 179 S. Main Street, Stafford, NJ.)

2. NEW – Apply for and receive a “Vote by Mail” ballot electronically:

Read the full release from the Governor.

To vote electronically, displaced voters may submit a mail-in ballot application either by e-mail or fax to their county clerk. Once an application is approved, the clerk will electronically send a ballot to the voter by either fax or e-mail in accordance to the voter’s preference. Voters must return their electronic ballot – by fax or email – no later than November 6, 2012, at 8 p.m.

Voters can download a mail-in ballot application for their county here. 

A list of county clerk websites, phone numbers and fax numbers is available here. 

The deadline for county clerks to receive mail-in ballots has been extended to November 19, 2012, for any ballot postmarked on or before November 5, 2012. Mail-in ballots postmarked later than November 5 will not be accepted.

3. NEW – Vote on Tuesday in a different polling place using a provisional ballot:

Directives issued by the state today enable displaced voters and first responders to vote by provisional ballot at any polling place in the state.

Read Directive.

This means if you are a registered voter in the state of NJ and you are staying in a different part of the state because of the storm you may go to a near by polling place on Tuesday and vote there using a provisional ballot.

Polling Places

Some polling places will be relocated.  A directive issued yesterday requires that all polling place changes are posted on county websites and the League of Women Voters of New Jersey is notified. We will know every polling place change and post them by county on our homepage. You may also call us at 1-800-792-VOTE(8683) with questions about your polling place. 

Mobile Polling Place Locator: To find your polling place text WHERE to 877877.

According to state officials, it will be updated every two hours. It may not reflect changes yet, so keep checking back.

Additionally, if your polling place has been relocated, there will be notification posted at your original polling place directing you to the relocated polling place. State officials have announced that they will deploy military vehicles to serve as polling places in some areas.

If you have any questions call the League of Women Voters of New Jersey’s toll-free voter assistance hotline, 1-800-792-VOTE(8683). We have extended our hours to help more voters and we are in the office today, Sunday, from 9 am – 4 pm. Our hours on Monday are 8:30 am – 4:30 pm. On election day, Tuesday, November 6, we staff the hotline all day while the polls are open (6 am – 8 pm).

You may also reach us through Facebook  at any time.

The League of Women Voters of New Jersey is doing everything possible to make sure NJ  voters are able to cast a ballot.

Thank you and stay safe.

2011 Voters Guide for Senate and Assembly Races Now Available!

Do you know where your candidates for the upcoming General Election stand on hot button issues like unemployment, property taxes, education, eminent domain, and the state’s energy needs? As part of an effort to encourage informed participation, the League of Women Voters of New Jersey has published the responses of the candidates running for New Jersey Senate and Assembly to 10 hard hitting questions about these issues in its 2011 Voters Guide.  This guide is available on the League’s website, www.lwvnj.org.

The questions reflect what matters most to New Jersey’s voters. Listed by district, the online 2011 Voters Guide provides an easy way of accessing the candidates’ responses. There is a link to help voters find their district, which may have changed as a result of the 2010 census and redistricting.

There is also an analysis of the statewide public question that will appear on the November 8th ballot. The League’s analysis of the ballot question includes the question and interpretive statement that will be found on the ballot, as well as a background of the question and reasons for voting yes and reasons for voting no.  The statewide public question asks if voters will allow the Legislature, when permitted by federal law, to legalize the placing of bets on certain sports events at casinos, racetracks, and former racetrack sites.

VoteThe 2011 Voters Guide, the ballot question analysis, redistricting information, and a wealth of additional voter service information can be found at www.lwvnj.org. In addition, the League of Women Voters of New Jersey also offers a toll-free hotline, 1-800-792-VOTE (8683) for members of the public to call in with their voting questions. That hotline is staffed during business hours and will also be available on Election Day while the polls are open (6 am – 8 pm) for voters in need of assistance.

School Elections held on a Wednesday this year

The League of Women Voters of New Jersey reminds all citizens that the Annual School Election will be held Wednesday, April 27.  The School Election occurs on a Wednesday this year as a result of a religious holiday. Voting to select your school board members and decide your school district’s budget is an important and powerful way to have a voice in education and your community.

It is important for voters to examine their sample ballots this year, which should arrive about a week before the election. Some county clerk’s also make sample ballot available online. In addition to selecting school board members and voting on school budgets, voters may see additional questions on the ballot. As in past years, some districts will have bond proposals and a few districts will have “second questions” proposing specific school programs and spending that will exceed the 2 percent tax cap.

However, for the first time in New Jersey history, a municipal question will appear on the ballot of fourteen towns, asking if voters will allow their local governments to exceed the new 2 percent property tax levy cap.

“I cannot stress how important it is to look at and understand your sample ballot before heading out the polls,” said Jesse Burns, Interim Executive Director of the League of Women Voters of New Jersey. “The language of these ballot questions, particularly if you are voting to exceed a municipal tax levy cap, can be very detailed and confusing if the first time you are seeing the question is in the voting booth.”

Registered voters may apply for a mail-in ballot in person at the County Clerk’s office up until 3 p.m. on April 26. In New Jersey, anyone who chooses to and applies in time may vote using a mail-in ballot. Completed mail-in ballots must be received by the board of elections on the day of the election. Please be aware that if you apply for a mail-in ballot and receive it, you must vote using that ballot.

Polling hours differ from district to district. Please call your local School Board office to confirm your polling place and hours the polls will be open. If you have any questions about voting in the School Election, please contact the League of Women Voters of New Jersey for assistance at 1-800-792-VOTE (8683).