N.J. isn’t sending out mail-in ballots to everyone for June 8 primary. Here’s how to get one.
Updated 8:22 AM; Today 8:00 AM
This year’s primary election in New Jersey won’t look like last year’s, so you may not automatically receive a ballot in the mail this time.
In 2020, the state sent out mail-in ballots to all of New Jersey’s 3.6 million registered Democrats and Republican living here to help prevent the spread of the coronavirus pandemic.
But with the state’s COVID-19 numbers improving, Gov. Phil Murphy has already announced that this year’s June 8 primary election — a big one, with the governor’s office and all 120 seats in the state Legislature on the ballot — will be conducted “primarily in-person.”
That means the state is not automatically sending out ballots to all registered members of the main two parties.
Meanwhile, the state’s usual polling places will be open to anyone who wants to vote in-person using a voting machine. Last year, only disabled residents could vote via machine. Anyone else who voted in-person did so by paper provision ballot.
But what if you still want to vote by mail?
If you requested a mail-in ballot in 2019 or earlier, you automatically get a ballot sent to you for life via state law.
If last year was the first time you voted by mail and want to continue voting that way, you can visit the state’s election website to apply. You have to print the application, fill it out, and mail it to your county clerk.
Your clerk must receive your application seven days prior to the election. But officials don’t recommend waiting until a week before the election just to be sure.
You can also apply in person at your county clerk’s office until 3 p.m. the day before primary election day.
The hundreds of drop boxes the state set up for last year’s elections will also remain, said Alicia D’Alessandro, a spokeswoman for the state Secretary of State’s office.
But officials recommend you check with your county website because some boxes may have been relocated, D’Alessandro said.
Your mail-in ballot must then be postmarked or dropped in a dropbox by 8 p.m. on primary election day for it to be counted.
With the pandemic continuing to hit the state throughout last year, New Jersey also made the 2020 general election mostly mail-in, sending out ballots to all 6.2 registered voters in the state. This year’s Nov. 2 general election is likely to be conducted primarily in-person as COVID-19 numbers and vaccinations continue to improve, though Murphy has not announced that yet.