Government

Here's a rundown of everything you need to know heading into the polls

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NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ - With ​just hours until New Jersey decides on its next governor, TAPinto New Brunswick wants​ to make sure you head into the polls with everything you need to know.

​Besides the race for governor, ​many seats at the county and state level are up for grabs, all of them being eyed by Democrats, Republicans and a few third party candidates.

We’ve compiled a cheat sheet​ so you can arguably be the savviest voter in New Brunswick.

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Are you registered?

​That's important to know.​ The state website let’s you find out. You’ll have to enter your first and last name, your middle initial and your birth month and year.

Where to vote? There are a number of polling stations​ around the city. Where you vote at depends on the address ​of ​which you registered. You can enter the address online to find out where to vote.

Voting Hotline: Questions, comments or concerns? You can call the state at 1-877-NJVOTER.

RU Voting? Rutgers students, whether you live on Busch, College Ave, Cook, Douglass, Livingston or off campus, you have the chance to vote and be active in local government. Rutgers has put together a list of which polling sites Rutgers students might have to go to. 

The majority of dorms and student housing are within walking distance of the polling sites, or a short ride on the Rutgers buses. The only exception are some of the Cook Campus dorms located in North Brunswick. For those, a shuttle will pick up students from the Biel Road Bus Stop.

Provisional Ballot:  If you're not on the voter list when you go into the polling place, you have the right to ask for a provisional ballot. You'll be given a paper ballot and envelope, and a place to vote in secret. After voting, you'll have to sign the affirmation statement attached to the ballot, and then hand everything to the poll worker. It's recommended you bring a photo ID in case you end up having to vote on a provisional ballot.  

Get Out The Vote

During these past few weeks and months, civic engagement and partisan groups have been trying to drive up the numbers of people who’ll head to the polls on November 7.

You've seen the mailers in your mailbox, the campaign signs on the lawn and likely received those RoboCalls.

Facing an uphill battle, ​with less funding and less card-carrying members, ​Middlesex County Republicans say they’ve been going all out, including phone banking and going door to door.

Turnout will likely be low, said County GOP Chair Lucille Panos, though she's hopeful that would be all the more a reason to step up a Get-Out-The-Vote effort.

“Low turnout usually means more Republicans come out,” Panos ​contends. “With the issues at hand, more people ​are ​crossing the line.”

Volunteers have spent the weekends at the party headquarters phone-banking,al​though Panos didn’t have any numbers on how many people have volunteers or how many people have pledged to vote.

"They're energized about their future," Panos said.

County Democrats have also been giving it their all, according to Julie Roginsky, a consultant for the Middlesex County Democratic Organization. 

"For weeks, the Middlesex Democrats have identified likely voters door to door and initiated a very robust door-to-door, digital and telephone program to target likely voters," Roginsky said. 

Volunteers will be canvasing across the county all throughout election day, Roginsky added, to ensure that local and state candidates get elected.

At Rutgers, the non-partisan Center for Youth Political Participation, an arm of the Rutgers Eagleton Institute, has been running the “RU Voting” campaign to get more students to vote.

“When you see a table out on Brower ​Commons' ​steps, a lot of times that’s us,” said program coordinator Brendan Keating.

Outreach starts early, Keating said. The campaign ​has ​tables at New Student Orientation​ (NSO)​, which happens over the summer to get first-year students acclimated to life at Rutgers.

“We have a table during all of the NSO days, introduce ourselves, let people get on the email list, give out a bit of swag with our website addresses on it,” Keating said.

Then RU Voting has to get the students registered, Keating said, and has volunteers trained specifically to do that. Those are the ones who, in September and a good chunk of October, come into different classrooms and push students to fill out voter registration forms.

Those volunteers need to be trained, according to Keating, so they can quickly spot any missing or incorrect information while combing through the hundreds of forms they’ll handle.

“We have to go the extra mile,” Keating said, and to do that, RU Voting often teams up with other on-campus groups, such as the Residence Hall Association and Rutgers University Student Assembly.

Together, they’ve put on October debate watch party at The Yard @ College Avenue and hosted candidate nights for the gubernatorial candidates at the Rutgers Eagleton Institute.

​Polls are open from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Nov. 7. TAPInto will have results later in the evening

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