In-Person NJ Provisional Ballots Most Likely Won’t Be Counted Until November 10 — Here’s Why

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If you vote at an in-person polling location on November 3, your vote won’t be counted until at least November 10—the last day that election officials can accept mail that’s postmarked by Election Day. {What?!} But don’t fear: this is because New Jersey is conducting a primarily vote-by-mail election this year. No matter what: your vote counts.

But it’s important to know how New Jersey elections are changing this year amid the coronavirus pandemic and what the provisional ballot provided day-of means.

new jersey provisional ballots not counted

In response to growing concerns about in-person voting amid the Covid-19 pandemic, New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy signed an executive order on August 14 that required election officials to send a mail-in ballot to every active registered voter in the state. “COVID-19 has impacted nearly every aspect of our lives, from our health and safety to how we participate in our democracy,” said Murphy. “This virus continues to threaten public health, and with today’s announcement, we are ensuring that New Jersey voters do not have to make a decision between exercising their right to vote and protecting their well-being.”

Read More: How to Vote in the 2020 Presidential Election in Hudson County: The Options

Murphy’s executive order requires at least one physical polling location in each of New Jersey’s 565 municipalities. For Hudson County, there are 107  locations in total, which can be found online.

All active registered voters should have already received a vote-by-mail ballot, and a completed ballot can be submitted through the postal service or dropped it off at a secure ballot location {postmarked by November 3 at the latest}. Murphy’s executive order also allows voters to hand their ballot to a poll worker at a physical location on Election Day. For those who expected to receive a ballot but have not, an election hotline is available at 1-877-NJ-VOTER {1-877-658-6837}, or at the New Jersey Division of Election’s website.

Although the postal service has a good record of keeping ballots secure, there is always a possibility of a lost ballot. To track your ballot’s location and status, you can visit the New Jersey Voter Registration System {and create an account if you do not already have one!}, or call your county’s election officials. Hudson County election officials can be contacted here.

See More: Where to Vote in Hoboken: Your Guide to Polling Locations

If you weren’t registered in time to receive an in-person ballot, you can still vote at an in-person polling location, but you can expect to receive a provisional ballot.

 Provisional ballots are normally used to record a vote when there are questions about a voter’s eligibility that must be resolved before the vote can count. Because this year’s election is primarily vote-by-mail, the provisional ballots won’t be counted until the last mail-in ballots are received by November 10.

This allows election officials enough time to make sure someone didn’t already vote by mail.

For people with disabilities, election officials said ADA-conforming voting machines will be available at every polling location.

{To vote in the 2020 election on November 3, register online by the registration deadline, October 13. Don’t wait!}

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Matthew Cunningham covers local stories on LGBTQ life, city council, local business, inequality, and science. Born in Arkansas, Matthew is a student at Stevens Institute of Technology and a proud gay Hoboken resident. When he isn't dashing to a zoning board meeting or interviewing lawmakers, he enjoys exploring restaurants on Washington Street, scootering on Frank Sinatra Drive, and getting a taste of the big city life.