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News from the Somerset County Board of Chosen Freeholders
Shanel Y. Robinson, Freeholder Director Sara Sooy, Freeholder Deputy Director
Brian D. Levine, Freeholder Brian G. Gallagher, Freeholder Melonie Marano, Freeholder
June 19, 2020
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
County Clerk Launches ‘How to Vote by Mail’ Video
Accuracy Counts to Ensure Your Vote Is Counted in NJ’s First Mail-In Primary
SOMERVILLE – In preparation for the July 7, 2020 Democratic and Republican Primaries, Somerset County Clerk Steve Peter has recorded an instructional video to assist voters in completing a mail-in ballot to ensure their ballot is counted. The video, which is just a few minutes long, takes voters step-by-step through filling out the ballot, sealing and completing the certification, and preparing the mailing envelope for submission.
“In accordance with the Governor’s executive order 144, Somerset County is conducting the 2020 Democratic and Republican primaries mostly by mail in ballot,” said Peter. “It is very important that the ballots be completed and submitted properly, as ballots that don’t have a signature, are not sealed, or have other flaws may not be considered valid.”
The video can be viewed online at https://bit.ly/HowToVoteByMail
How to Vote in the 2020 Primary Election
Democrats and Republicans who are registered and “active” should have already received ballots in the mail at their official voting address. The ballots are enclosed in an oversized envelope with a red stripe and white letters reading, “OFFICIAL BALLOT ENCLOSED”. This is the official ballot for the primary, and registered Democratic and Republican voters should use these ballots. If a ballot is mistakenly discarded or lost, the voter should contact the Somerset County Clerk’s office at 908-231-7013 for assistance.
Unaffiliated and “inactive” voters have been mailed a special application to use if they would like to receive a mail-in ballot for the July 7 Primary. If an application has been mistakenly discarded or lost, a replacement can be downloaded in English or Spanish at https://bit.ly/HowToVoteByMail. Voters may also apply in person at the Somerset County Clerk’s Office at 20 Grove Street in Somerville before 8 p.m. the day of the election.
Unaffiliated voters must choose to be affiliated with the Democratic or Republican party to receive either a Republican or Democrat vote-by mail-ballot. Voters may return to their Unaffiliated status following the primary by completing and submitting a Party Declaration Form to the Board of Elections.
Vote by Mail to Help Stop the Spread
Due to the COVID-19 Pandemic and to protect the health and safety of both the voting public and election workers, a limited number of polling locations will be open to support voters who require special assistance and those who did not submit their ballots by mail. However, those who did not submit their ballot by mail will only have the option of utilizing a provisional paper ballot. Those voters who can vote by mail are highly encouraged to do so to protect the health of their families, election workers, and themselves.
A list of polling places is available at https://bit.ly/NewJerseyPollingPlaces.
Ballots may also be brought to the Board of Elections office by 8 p.m. on primary election day.
“Given the limitations on in-person voting at the limited number of polling places and at the Clerk’s office, I recommend that voters use their mail-in ballot,” said County Clerk Peter. “It is the safest, most secure way to cast your ballot in the 2020 primary.”
The Somerset County Clerk is responsible for receiving petitions for candidates for elective offices, designing and printing sample ballots, machine ballots, and election mail-in ballot materials, maintaining mail-in ballot voter lists, issuing mail-in ballots, overseeing the drawing for ballot positions, tabulating election returns and certifying election results.
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