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Voting Information & Resources: Vote by Mail

How to vote by mail and in person, and how to protect your right to vote.

In 2021, New Jersey will elect all State House membership, including governor and both senators and assembly members. 

New Jersey will resume in person voting for the 2021 elections. Registered voters will only receive a vote by mail ballot if they have specifically requested one. The New Jersey general election is November 2.

You can register to vote online in NJ! Click here to get started. The deadline for the November 2, 2021 general election is October 12.

New Jersey vote by mail ballots can also be returned via secure drop boxes located throughout the state. Click here for a list of 2021 drop box locations by county, or view the interactive map below.

Voting by mail has a long history; this page details some of that history, as well as what to do in each state where vote by mail exists. Scroll down to see resources on voting by mail in New Jersey.

What is Vote by Mail?

Historically, Americans have voted by mail when overseas or away from their permanent residence for an extended period of time. This included active duty service members, students, government employees, and citizens living abroad. In general, most registered voters could simply submit a request for an absentee ballot, and would have to give a reason why they were making the request (active duty military service members and some government employees were automatically provided with such materials). This system, known as absentee voting, was in effect for all states. 

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National voting reforms implemented after the 2000 presidential election upgraded voting systems nationwide and initiated many other reforms, but absentee voting (vote by mail) remained unchanged across most of the United States. However, states like Oregon had already begun conducting all elections by mail and phasing out in person voting as early as 1998, and little by little, the concept of vote by mail gained popularity around the country. Restricting vote by mail only to those who gave a specific reason gradually fell from favor, as more states began offering some form of vote by mail on demand; as of January 2020, five states had adopted universal statewide vote by mail for all elections, while the rest of the country mostly permitted it on demand. But as a result of public health concerns related to the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic, most states relaxed standards for vote by mail so that in effect, vote by mail on demand existed virtually nationwide during the primary season.  

New Jersey initiated vote by mail on demand in 2017, and relaxed standards for the 2020 primary, mailing ballots to all primary voters. Visit the State of New Jersey elections website for official information and updates on mail-in voting for the fall 2021 election; Vote by Mail New Jersey also has comprehensive resources on mail-in voting in New Jersey and around the country.

NOTE: You can also submit Vote by Mail ballots via dropboxes located in your voting district. Click here for the list of drop box locations for the Nov. 2, 2021 election.

Online Voting?

Despite ongoing concerns about election security and hacking, there is a substantial list of states that permit some form of online voting. Note: most experts believe that online voting cannot be secured under current technology.

U.S. Vote Foundation

The U.S Vote Foundation is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization dedicated to assisting U.S. citizens and active duty uniformed services members and their families with registration and access to vote by mail ballots. It also offers comprehensive, continuously updated news and information on elected officials and local and national elections, including deadlines, local contact information and voting procedures. 

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Guidelines

Guidelines and procedures differ for each state, and not every state permits voting by mail on demand. The Vote411 website offers detailed information for each state, and you can visit the Voting Resources - United States tab for further information. In general, you must be a citizen and of voting age. 

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NEW: Available in Spanish!

In New Jersey, you can apply for permanent vote by mail status for some or all elections. Visit the State of New Jersey Elections website for the latest information on the Nov. 2, 2021 election.

Click here for a research guide showing state-by-state information on voting by mail published by the American University Library.

Vote by Mail New Jersey

 

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Image courtesy votebymailnj.org

Vote by Mail New Jersey is an ongoing initiative to facilitate secure mail-in voting in the Garden State. Visit votebymailnj.org for a wealth of resources, including detailed instructions for completing a vote by mail ballot.

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Vote from Abroad & USPS Delays

Most states will let overseas citizens return their voted ballots by email, fax, and/or web portal—they should use one of these methods if they can. But 22 states still require overseas citizens to return their ballots by postal mail—these states include WI, MI, MN, PA, OH, KY, and populous states like NJ, NY, and CT.

Click here for updated information from Vote from Abroad.

Registration

You can mail in your registration to vote in most states, and in some states you can register online. Click here for further information and downloadable forms.

NJ Secure Ballot Drop Box Map

Below is a map of all secure ballot drop boxes located in New Jersey for the Nov. 2021 election. Click the map to enlarge. 

Vote from Abroad

Vote from Abroad is a nonprofit organization dedicated to ensuring Americans abroad* have complete voting information and access to vote by mail (absentee) ballots. Visit their site for one-stop information on primary and general election deadlines, ballot submission rules, and local election officials in all 50 states and U.S. territories, and use their handy online tool to generate and send a Federal Postcard Application notifiying local election officials of your intent to vote by mail as an American abroad. Spanish language resources available.

*Americans abroad status includes citizens living outside the U.S. and active duty military service people and their families.

 

Federal Voting Assistance Program

The Federal Voting Assistance Program (FVAP) works to ensure that active duty service members, their eligible family members, and U.S. citizens living abroad are aware of their right to vote and have the tools and resources to successfully do so from anywhere in the world. Visit this official federal government site for detailed, official information on all aspects of the program; you can get started on their FAQs page.