Due to the pandemic, New Jersey's general election is now a vote-by-mail election. Read our answers to your questions on how to vote in New Jersey (yes, you can vote in person). And let us know what you think about VBM—you can email us at tips@gothamist.com.

I haven’t been able to get through to my County Clerk and now the deadline has passed to get a ballot mailed to me. What should I do?

At this point, if your ballot hasn’t arrived, you can do two things. You can go to your county elections office to request a ballot in person. While you’re there, if you prefer, you can fill it out and submit it—or take it home and mail it back. You can also vote at your polling place on Election Day with a paper provisional ballot.

What do I do if I need to reopen my envelope because I forgot to vote on the backside? 

Do not open your envelope and reseal with tape. You must get a new ballot or vote in person. 

I am hearing about so many problems with the mail in ballots that I’m afraid my vote won’t be counted. Should I vote in person?

You can vote in person if you’re uncomfortable with mail-in voting or if you have a problem with your ballot. There are fewer polling places this year, so be sure to check the location

If you go to the polls, you don’t use a machine, it’s a paper provisional ballot. These are counted last, but the League of Women Voters says it’s a perfectly valid way to vote and that no one should be discouraged from voting with a provisional ballot on election day.  It’s counted last because election workers need to check that the voter didn’t already submit a mail ballot, but the important thing is that it will be counted.

Why can’t the machines be used?

Because the voter rolls are not electronic,  so when a voter arrives on election day and votes by machine, there’s no way for poll workers to make sure that person hasn’t already voted.

Usually, the absentee ballots would be counted after the machines, and checked against the machine vote to make sure no one voted twice. Now the mailed ballots will be counted first, then the provisional ballots.

I went to the ballot tracker on the state elections website, but it says I’m not registered even though I already sent my ballot in. How do I fix that?

You have to put in your information exactly as it matches the state registration rolls. Try it with different numbers, either the last four of your social security or your driver's license. 

When will  New Jersey have election results?

It took more than a month after the July primary, but the state made changes to improve this. Election workers were allowed to start counting 10 days before Election Day. But it will depend on the number of people who vote provisional, since those ballots must be cross-checked against the list of those who submitted a mail ballot.  If it’s a small percent, it will only matter in close races. But if it’s a large percent, it could delay all results for several days because mailed-in ballots will be counted for a week—until November 10th. 

I’ve heard there were problems with the post office not postmarking all ballots—what happens if I mail mine on Election Day and it doesn’t have a postmark?

Ballots that arrive within 48 hours of Election Day, November 3rd, will be accepted without a postmark. 

Need a refresher on what's on the ballot? Check out our WNYC/Gothamist Voter Guide below: