HASBROUCK HEIGHTS, NJ - Due to COVID-19 (coronavirus), New Jersey's June 2 Primary was postponed to July 7, per Governor Phil Murphy's executive order in early April, and was declared vote-by-mail in mid-May. This is how voters can cast their votes next week.
All active registered Republican and Democratic voters automatically received a vote-by-mail ballot. A pre-paid postage return envelope will be included. All unaffiliated voters and inactive Republican and Democratic voters will receive a postage-paid vote-by-mail application.
According to Laurie Varga, Hasbrouck Heights Borough Clerk, the majority of ballots in the borough are expected to be cast by mail. The town will have one voting machine supported by three to four poll workers at the Senior Center in Borough Hall. She explained it is only for voters who are blind, physically disabled or illiterate. All other voters who come to the polls will be required to fill out a provisional ballot. Polls are open the same times as always, 6AM to 8PM.
The only polling place open in Wood-Ridge will be Borough Hall, said Christopher Eilert, Borough Administrator. He stressed "that polling locations are meant only for disabled voters who can't fill out their mail-in ballot themselves and need the assistance of the poll worker to fill out a ballot and, voters who didn't receive a mail-in ballot." Only paper provisional ballots will be used at polling places. There will not be machine voting.
Vote-by-mail ballots returned by mail must be postmarked by July 7 (Election Day) and must be received by the County Board of Elections by July 14. Ballots returned in-person must be received by 8 pm, July 7. Voters cannot return their ballots to the municipal clerk or polling place. It must be mailed back or dropped in one of the five secure drop boxes in the county.
Ballots will be picked up regularly, brought to the County Board of Elections offices in Hackensack to be time-stamped and processed, all in advance of counting that begins on July 7. The last pick-up will be at 8:00 p.m. on Tuesday, July 7. Voters may still mail their ballots at the post office. County buildings remain closed to the public due to COVID-19 restrictions, preventing hand-delivery of ballots directly to the Board of Elections.
The county wide boxes can be found outside the following locations:
Demarest - 118 Serpentine Road, Demarest, NJ (Borough Hall)
Fort Lee - 1355 Inwood Terrace/Anderson Avenue Circular Driveway (Fort Lee Community Center)
Hackensack - One Bergen County Plaza, Hackensack, NJ (County Administration Building)
Ramsey - 30 Wyckoff Avenue (Library - in rear of building)
Ridgewood - 131 North Maple Avenue, Ridgewood, NJ (Village Hall)
Rutherford - 176 Park Avenue, Rutherford (Borough Hall)
Ballot Drop Boxes are available 24-hours. Ballots must be in the Drop Box by 8PM on election night. Ballots left after 8PM on election night will be considered late and not counted.
The ballots must be in the County Election office (Superintendent of Elections) located at One Bergen County Plaza, Room 380, Hackensack, NJ 07601 by or before 7/7/2020.
Vote-by-mail ballots returned by mail must be postmarked by July 7 (Election Day) and must be received by the County Board of Elections by July 14.
CDC guidelines for polling place safety and sanitation will be followed. Voters who vote at polling places will vote using a paper provisional ballot. Voters with disabilities may vote on ADA-accessible voting machines. The State and County will be providing PPE, social distancing signage and single use pens to each polling place, along with the usual supplies.
According to the Board of Elections, provisional ballots won’t be looked at until July 15 or later, after all VBMs are entered into the system. Certification of the election is extended to 15 Days. Candidates filing for recounts now have 23 days to do so.
(Editor's Note: Rebecca Greene contributed to this article.)
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