MAPLEWOOD/SOUTH ORANGE, NJ — The COVID-19 pandemic delayed New Jersey's traditional June Primary Election by one month and will dramatically impact how this year's vote will be handled by individual towns and the Somerset County Board of Elections.

Tuesday, July 7th is Primary Day, but very few people will be going to the polls, because most polling places have been shut down to minimize close personal contact as per Gov. Phil Murphy's Executive Order of May 15.

Instead, mail-in ballots have replaced the traditional in-person voting, with the bulk of the mail-in ballots already returned by voters.

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Final results, usually available within 24 hours, won't be known for at least 7-10 days, according to Essex County Clerk Christopher J. Durkin, because of the additional time necessary to count all the mail-in ballots.

Presidential, US Senate, Congressional, and local, county, and state candidates are listed on the Primary ballots which were mailed to both Republican and Democratic voters; unaffiliated voters were mailed an application to fill out if they chose to vote in the Primary.

The Executive Order directed the following:

  • Registered, active Democrats and Republicans would be mailed ballots automatically;
  • Unaffiliated and Inactive voters would be mailed a special application to fill out if they wanted to receive a ballot for the July 7th Primary;
  • A limited number of polling place are allowed to be open on Election Day where only provisional paper ballots will be available to cast a vote.  Voters who need an accessible ballot may call the County Clerk’s Office.
  • Polls are to be open from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m
  • A sample ballot is to be posted at each polling place.
  • Voters who receive a Vote-by-Mail ballot are encouraged to vote and mail their ballot to the Somerset County Clerk in the postage paid envelope. Ballots returned by mail must be postmarked no later than 8 p.m. on July 7, 2020.
  • Ballots may also be placed in one of the secure Election Ballot Drop Boxes located throughout the County. The deadline for placing it in one of the secure drop boxes or for delivering your ballot in person to the Essex County Clerk before 8 p.m. on July 7, 2020. 
  • The secure drop box locations are listed on the Essex County website.

United States Senate:

Sen. Corey Booker, (D-NJ), the incumbent is being challenged by Lawrence Hall of Montclair in the Democratic Primary, with five Republican candidates seeking the GOP nomination to run against the winner of the Democratic Primary in November: :Patricia Flanagan of Lawrenceville; Natalie Lynn Rivera of Merchantville; Hirsh Singh of Linwood; Rikin Mehta of Chester and Eugene Anagnos of East Hanover.


President Donald Trump is running unopposed in the Republican Primary; Democratic voters will choose between former vice president Joe Biden and Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders.


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