NEWTON, NJ (Sussex County) – With the upcoming 2020 General Election on Nov. 3 driven entirely by mail-in-ballots, voters have four ways to safely submit their ballots and make their vote count.
“Early voting will decide election winners,” Sussex County Clerk Jeff Parrott said. “Vote early, be engaged.”
By voting early, Parrott said, any discrepancy from a submitted ballot, such as a signature discrepancy, can be cured as quickly as possible.
“This exclusive vote-by-mail process wasn’t our choice,” said Sussex County Freeholder Joshua Hertzberg, with the Freeholders having unanimously voted on a resolution in August opposing it. “However, this is the system we have to work with. We have faith in our County Clerk’s Office in handling the process of distributing ballots and we encourage everyone to vote.”
How do you participate in the exclusive voting-by-mail process? The early vote by-mail process begins with the ballot that each voter should have received in the mail by the first week of October. Once you complete that ballot as instructed, the final step is placing it into the supplied envelope and submitting it to the Sussex County Board of Elections, for it to count in the Election Day tally on Tuesday, Nov. 3.
There are four options to return mail-in ballots:
- Deposit completed ballots in one of several secure drop boxes, situated in the following locations countywide: Andover Borough Municipal Building, Andover Township Municipal Building, Frankford Municipal Building, Franklin Municipal Building, Fredon Civic Center, Hardyston Municipal Building, Hopatcong Municipal Building, Montague Township Municipal Building, Newton Municipal Building, Sandyston Municipal Building, Sparta Municipal Building, Vernon Municipal Building and Wantage Municipal Building. Sussex County residents can drop their ballots into any of these secure drop boxes, regardless of the municipality that they live within the county. Each of these drop boxes is monitored by 24-hour surveillance, with the ballots retrieved once daily by a Republican and Democrat representative, working in concert to retrieve them. Ballots will be picked up at each of these boxes nightly, through Election Day, Nov. 3.
- Ballots can be hand-delivered to the Board of Elections office at 83 Spring Street, Suite 305 in Newton. Voters who opt for hand-delivery to the Board of Elections must provide I.D.
- Voters may mail their completed ballot to the Board of Elections, via the United States Postal Service, in the prepaid, First-Class envelope that came with their ballot. Those that are mailed, must be postmarked by Nov. 3 and must arrive to the Sussex County Board of Elections no later than Nov. 9, in order to count.
- Voters can choose to bring their mail-in ballot to their assigned polling place on Election Day. By Oct. 23, Parrott said, voters should receive a 6 X 9 postcard with their assigned polling location. However, voters can only bring their own vote-by-mail ballot to their designated polling location. They cannot be the bearer for anyone else.
The only voters this year who will be permitted to use the voting machines at the polling locations will be those with disabilities that will prevent them from using ballots mailed to their home, such as those who are visually impaired. Those who would like to vote at a polling location and have their vote count toward the Election Day tally, must use the ballot they received in the mail. For those who show up at the polls without their ballot, they will be given a “provisional” paper ballot, which is counted after the deadline for vote-by-mail ballots.
“The provisional count delays the final results of the election and in order for the tally process to move more quickly, voters are encouraged to vote with the ballot the County Clerk’s Office mailed to them,” Parrott said.
If you never received your ballot, inadvertently disposed of your ballot mailed to you, if you find an error on your ballot, if you made an error filling out your ballot or any other issues you encounter with you mail-in-ballot or envelope, you may request a duplicate ballot . To request a replacement ballot, contact the Sussex County Clerk’s Office as quickly as possible online at: sussexcountyclerk.org/elections/ or call the County Clerk’s Office at: 973-579-0900.
For more information about the upcoming General Election, including election FAQ’s, vote-by-mail instructions, the list of secure drop box locations, the list of polling locations and how to track ballots submitted, Sussex County voters may visit the Sussex County Clerk’s website or call: 973-579-0900.