Last week, Governor Murphy moved the Primary Election in New Jersey to Tuesday, July 7. This new date should make it safer to vote in person, but also allows more time for citizens to apply to vote by mail.
The purpose of a primary election is to nominate a candidate to represent your party in the General Election next November. This year’s primary will include candidates for President, plus candidates to represent us in the US Senate and House of Representatives, and officials in County and Municipal Government.
In this uncertain time, a good way to ensure that you will be able to vote in the Primary on July 9 is to apply to vote by mail. Vote by Mail ballots are available for any registered voter for any election. You do not need a special reason to request a ballot, but you must complete an application.
You can find a Vote By Mail application at: nj.gov/state/elections/vote-by-mail.shtml
Just scroll down to Mercer County to find the application, print it out, and mail it in. Applications must be received by the County Clerk by June 30. When the Clerk’s Office receives your application, they will mail you a paper ballot to complete at home and mail back to them. The completed ballot must be postmarked by Election Day.
Voting in a primary is a bit different from voting in the General Election. If you are affiliated with the Democratic or Republican Party, you will be given that party’s primary ballot when you go to the polls on election day or will be mailed that party’s ballot if you elect to Vote by Mail.
If you are not presently affiliated with a political party, you can declare your affiliation by completing a Political Party Affiliation Declaration Form. Or, if you are voting in person, you may also declare your affiliation on primary day at the polling location to get the appropriate ballot.
You may also use the Political Party Affiliation Declaration Form to change your party or become unaffiliated with a party. The deadline for making these changes is May 13. If you wish to change your affiliation download and print out the Political Party Affiliation Declaration Form which you can find at: https://nj.gov/state/elections/voter-party-affiliation-declaration.shtml
Send the completed form to the Mercer County Board of Elections: 640 S. Broad Street, PO Box 8068, Trenton, NJ 08650
Finally, if you are a registered member of the Green Party, Libertarian Party, Natural Law Party, Reform Party, U.S. Constitution Party, Conservative Party or the Socialist Party of New Jersey you can participate in the convention of that party, according to its bylaws, but you cannot vote in either the Democratic or Republican Primary.
A good resource for information about New Jersey elections is the League of Women Voters of New Jersey webpage: www.lwvnj.org/voting-2/voting
On this site, you will find links to all of the documents you might be looking for on the state webpages, plus a simple answer to any additional questions you may have about the upcoming election. During this time of social distancing, our Hopewell Valley League will not be out in the community providing election information, but we are always available to answer your questions via e-mail. You can contact us at: HVLeague@gmail.com
Submitted by The League of Women Voters, a nonpartisan political organization. The LWV encourages informed and active participation in government, works to increase understanding of major public policy issues, and influences public policy through education and advocacy. Membership is open to men and women of all ages. With over 750 affiliates across the county, the League is one of the nation’s most trusted organizations.