FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: October 1, 2008

CONTACT: Sebastian D’Elia, 908-527-4419
Tom Plante, 908-527-4746

 

VOTING 101: EASY AND PAINLESS
By Joanne Rajoppi, Union County Clerk

 

The history of voting in the United States of America is one of increased voting rights and ease of voting, from granting 18-year-olds the right to vote to adapting voting laws to permit voting by mail. Election Day 2008 is fast approaching and all eligible Union County voters can look forward to ease and efficiency in registering to vote and voting by mail. Two recently enacted New Jersey laws permit later voter registration, up to October 14th, as well as voting by mail without a reason.

Those residents 18 years of age or older who have resided in the county for at least 30 days prior to November 4th have until October 14th to mail a voter registration form to the Union County Board of Elections in order to vote in the November 4th Presidential Election. Union County has witnessed a dramatic increase of more than 14 percent (1,680 out of 11,479 new voters) by the end of September in registrations of 18-year-olds since the June 2008 primary election. Forms and information to register to vote are available on the County Clerk’s website at www.ucnj.org/ctyclerk.

Once registered to vote, a voter can choose to vote by mail instead of traveling to the polls. Recently, I made a video to assist anyone wishing to vote by mail with easy, step-by-step instructions. The video is viewable at our website: www.ucnj.org/ctyclerk. Anyone who wishes to vote by mail for any reason whatsoever may submit an application for a ballot by mail up to seven days prior to the election. To be eligible, the application must be postmarked no later than October 28th. After Tuesday, Oct. 28th, a voter can obtain a ballot up to 3 p.m. on Monday, November 3rd by appearing in person at the County Clerk’s office, 2 Broad Street, Room 113, Elizabeth. As a public service, our office will be open from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturday, November 1st for anyone wishing to receive and vote a ballot. Secured locked ballot boxes will be available to cast your ballot.

There are many misconceptions about absentee or voting by mail. You do not need a reason for voting by mail. Every absentee ballot that is received by the deadline of the close of polls on Election Day is opened and counted. The tally of the absentee vote is included in the total voter count.

There are some reasons an absentee ballot is not opened and counted. These reasons include the following: the voter signature does not match the signature on file; the voter failed to sign affirmation; ID is required; ballot was hand-delivered by someone other than the voter or a duly authorized messenger. A valid ID is required under Federal Law for anyone who has never voted in a Federal election prior to Jan. 1, 2003. The voter has until 4 p.m. on Thursday, Nov. 6th to provide ID to the Board of Elections either by fax or in person.

The importance of voting cannot be over-emphasized. Many recent local elections in Union County have been determined by a two or three vote differential. In a Presidential election, every single vote is important. I urge everyone to vote either at the polls or via
mail. Please be sure to contact my office at 908-527-4996 with any election-related questions. Happy Election Day!