SOUTH PLAINFIELD, NJ –The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the face of the New Jersey State Primary Election, scheduled to take place next Tuesday. Earlier this spring, Governor Phil Murphy signed Executive Order 144 declaring that the election be held mainly via vote by mail, however, in South Plainfield, one in-person polling site will also be available.
“July 7 is Primary Day and if you haven’t already returned your mail-in ballot yet please do so,” said Mayor Matt Anesh in his June 28 video message to residents. “You may also go to the one site available in town and that will be the South Plainfield Senior Center.”
Ballots, which include pre-paid return postage, went out to all registered voters last month; the deadline to request a mail-in ballot via the mail has passed, but voters may apply in person at the Middlesex County Clerk’s Office no later than 3 p.m. on Monday, July 6. Instructions for how to complete the Vote By Mail ballot are included on the ballot and available at https://bit.ly/3dXQOGu. Once completed and sealed in the postage paid envelopes, ballots can be returned via the United States Postal Service or dropped off at either the Middlesex County Board of Elections, 11 Kennedy Blvd, East Brunswick, or in one of five ballot boxes throughout the county.
Drop-off boxes, according to the county website, are available 24 hours a day until 8 p.m. July 7 at the following locations: Piscataway Municipal Complex, 455 Hoes Lane; Metuchen Municipal Complex, 500 Main Street; Sayreville Borough Hall, 167 Main Street; Milltown Municipal Complex, 39 Washington Ave.; and Jamesburg Municipal Complex, 131 Perrineville Road. All boxes are under 24-hour video surveillance.
According to Amy Antonides, clerk for the Borough of South Plainfield, returning ballots by mail is ‘encouraged,’ but ‘’voting districts won’t be relevant for this particular election’ and residents ‘can use any ballot box site in the county.’
Throughout the county, a limited number of in-person voting sites will also be available. In South Plainfield, the senior center will be the only polling site available for the 2020 Primary. Residents who wish to vote by paper, provisional ballot may do so between the hours of 6 a.m. and 8 p.m.; ballots that were mailed to residents cannot be submitted at the polling site.
Additionally, a very limited number of voting machines will be available at this location for people with disabilities and only the voter with a disability may vote in the machine. A disabled voter in need of access to an ADA device to vote in the 2020 primary should contact the Middlesex County Board of Elections at 732-745-3471 prior to July 7.
The Middlesex County Clerk’s Office will offer extended hours of operations from 8:30 am to 7 pm on Monday, July 6 for any voter who would like to request a vote by mail ballot in person.
“During this election season, ensuring the health and safety of our residents and workers is a top priority for us, second only to our mission of ensuring our voters have the opportunity to exercise their right to vote,” said Freeholder Director Ronald G. Rios in a July 1 press release. “The county has been working diligently with partners in the state and [with] the United States Postal Service to design and distribute these ballots to residents, and the county encourages every resident to complete their mail-in ballots and submit those ballots via one of the many avenues provided.”
“Middlesex County has been a leader in Vote by Mail for many years, providing the postage for the application and the ballot at no cost to our residents,” said Middlesex County Clerk Elaine Flynn in a July 1 statement, noting that prior to the governor declaring the Primary Election be held mainly via Vote By Mail ballots, the county ‘encouraged voters to utilize the program, mailing applications and launching a comprehensive public awareness campaign to educate voters on Vote By Mail.’ “I am honored to be part of a county that puts its residents’ right to vote and health and safety above all else.”
For more information about applications or the sending of mail-in ballots for the July 7, 2020 Primary Election, call the Middlesex County Elections Division at (732) 745-4202. For all other questions, call the Middlesex County Board of Elections at (732) 745-3471.
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