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​​​​​​​​Welcome to the LSNJLAWSM website, provided by Legal Services of New Jersey (LSNJ). LSNJ is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit offering free legal advice to low-income people in New Jersey. Find legal information by clicking on a legal topic or typing a few words into the search box. ​

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Government Aid and Services
Voting in New Jersey

How do I know if I can vote?

In order to vote, you must first register. You can register to vote if you are:

  • A U.S. citizen,
  • At least 18 years of age on or before the next election, and
  • A resident of New Jersey and your county for at least 30 days prior to the election.

You cannot register to vote if:

  • You are serving a jail sentence.
  • A judge has determined that you lack the mental capacity to vote.

How do I register to vote?

You must file a registration application. You can get a voter registration application from:

  • Your County Commission of Registration,
  • Your County Board of Elections,
  • Local libraries,
  • NJ Motor Vehicle Commission offices,
  • County Boards of Social Services, and
  • Other public assistance agencies.

The registration form is also available with additional information online at Register to Vote! (from the NJ Department of State). You can also check that website to see if you are already registered to vote and to find out where to vote on Election Day. It is wise to check registration status well before the election, as it is possible to become de-registered if your County Commission of Registration (CCR) sent a verification request and you did not respond. Voters must register at least 21 days before voting in an election.

You can register to vote with your County Commission of Registration (CCR) or Superintendent of Elections (SE) in person or by mail. You cannot register electronically or by fax, because an original signature is required. You can call 1-877- NJVOTER toll-free to find contact information for your CCR or SE, request that a voter registration form be mailed to you, and find out whether information is available in languages other than English. You can also call your CCR or SE if you are unsure whether you are registered. Once registered, you can vote in person at the polls on Election Day or by absentee ballot.

If you register by mail, the CCR or SE will send you a request for identification form asking for your driver’s license number or the last four digits of your Social Security number. If you have neither, they will ask for other acceptable identifying documents. These include a photo ID, a bank statement, a utility bill, or an official document addressed to you. After your registration is approved you should receive information about where to vote.

How do I vote once I am registered?

Vote by mail rules

Absentee ballots are now called “vote by mail ballots” in New Jersey. No reason or excuse is required to vote by mail. However, you must be a registered voter and also submit your vote by mail application on time to the County Clerk in the county where you live. Applications can be:

  • Received by the County Clerk by mail up to seven days before the election, or
  • Filed in person with the County Clerk up until 3 p.m. on the day before the election.

You cannot fax or email your application to vote by mail. You do not need a stamp to mail your application for a vote by mail ballot.

Call 1-877-NJVOTER or see Vote by Mail Ballot (from the NJ Department of State) to get a vote by mail ballot application and the County Clerk’s contact information. After your application is received and accepted, a ballot will be mailed to you. You can complete and submit it as indicated on the ballot. The County Board of Elections must receive your ballot by no later than 8 p.m. on Election Day. Once you request a vote by mail ballot, you must vote by mail. You will not be allowed to vote in person at the polls.

Voting in person

After you register, the CCR or SE should send you information about where you will vote on Election Day. Shortly before the election, you should receive a sample ballot and polling information. If you have not received any information a few weeks before the election, you should call the CCR or SE or visit Register to Vote! (from the NJ Department of State) to find out where you should go to vote.

It is a good idea to bring identification and proof of address with you when you go to vote, especially if you are voting for the first time. If you registered by mail, you may need to bring a photo ID, utility bill, paycheck, or other document showing your name and address. Call the CCR or SE if you have any questions about what ID is acceptable. Polls are open between 6:00 a.m. and 8:00 p.m. on Election Day.

If you go to the polling place and you are not permitted to vote, you can make an application to a Superior Court judge in the county where you live for an order permitting you to vote. No formal or written application is needed. You do not need to be represented by an attorney. You should go to the Superior Court in the county where you live. There will be a judge on duty to hear voters’ applications. If you are listed as a registered voter, you can ask to vote by provisional ballot. In some cases your provisional vote can be counted if you submit a copy of your ID to the CCR by close of business on the second day after the election.

Voting for people with disabilities

State and federal laws require that polling places and voting machines be accessible to people with disabilities. In particular, the Help America Vote Act (HAVA) requires that the voting process “be accessible for individuals with disabilities, including nonvisual accessibility for the blind and visually impaired, in a manner that provides the same opportunity for access and participation (including privacy and independence) as other voters.”

People with mental illness are generally permitted to vote unless a judge determines that they lack the capacity to vote. People do not lose the right to vote if they have a guardian, unless the guardianship order declares that the person lacks the capacity to vote.

HAVA can be enforced through private litigation or through the U.S. Department of Justice, Civil Rights Department, Voting Division, at 1-800-253-3931. The New Jersey Office of the Attorney General has a voting accessibility concern and complaint process and can be contacted at (609) 292-3760. On Election Day, Disability Rights New Jersey has a toll-free Hotline for people with disabilities who have voting questions or issues, at 1-800-922-7233.

If you believe that you were improperly denied the right to vote on Election Day, you can apply to the New Jersey Superior Court in your county for relief. Each court has an emergent duty judge available on Election Day with authority to hear your complaint and to issue an order permitting you to vote. To find your local New Jersey Superior Court, see Local Courthouse Addresses (from New Jersey Courts) or call 1-877-NJVOTER for further information.

If you speak a language other than English

Voter registration applications are available in the following languages: English, Spanish, Korean, Gujarati, Simplified Chinese, and Traditional Chinese. You can find the applications at Registration Information (from the NJ Department of State).​

11/16/2016