Amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s fair to say not much has been normal during not-so-normal times, including how voters will cast ballots in the Nov. 3 election.
With countless local government and board of education seats up for grabs, along with a highly anticipated presidential election, New Jersey voters should get themselves familiar with how to cast their votes.
Gov. Phil Murphy signed an executive order in August allowing the election to be conducted in a hybrid fashion, with all registered voters getting a mail-in ballot. While polling places will still be open, voters will only be able to cast paper provisional ballots there, unless a disability means a voter needs to use a machine.
Since the election will mostly be conducted by mail, the Camden County Board of Elections has installed a total of 13 drop boxes across the county so residents can deliver their ballots to a secure location leading up to the election, should they choose not to use the U.S. Postal Service.
“VBM (vote-by-mail) drop boxes are conveniently located throughout Camden County to make voting easier and more convenient during this most unusual election year,” said Freeholder Melinda Kane. “Voters can rest assured that these boxes are safe and secure, and that their vote will be counted as long as their ballot is completed properly and placed in any VBM drop box prior to the closing of polls on Nov. 3. Voters can also return their ballot by mail or by bringing it to the board of elections in person.”
Camden County ballot dropoff locations are now in Audubon, Berlin Township, Camden City, Cherry Hill, Chesilhurst, Gloucester Township, Haddon Township, Lindenwold, Pennsauken, Runnemede, Voorhees Township and Winslow Township.
County residents can bring their ballot to any of the 13 drop boxes within the county; a voter does not need to live in the municipality where he or she drops off a ballot.
If a resident were to accidentally drop off a ballot at a box outside of Camden County, such as Gloucester or Cumberland County, the county board of elections will still count the ballot as a vote, after the election board in the county that receives the ballot transfers it to the correct location.
According to Kane, ballots dropped in the boxes will be collected each day by two members of the county board of elections, one from each of the two main parties. Following the installation of the drop box locations, Kane said the approximately 340,000 mail-in ballots would then be sent out to eligible voters.
“The general election this year is clearly going to be different due to the pandemic,” said Kane. “But again, I want to assure voters that the vote-by-mail mail boxes are clean and secure, and most importantly, they are the best protection in keeping all of us healthy.”
Cherry Hill Mayor Susan Shin Angulo attended an event at the Cherry Hill Municipal Building, where a drop box was installed in back of the building on Sept. 23. Cherry Hill is the only municipality in the county to have two drop boxes for the election.
“This is an efficient way that the government can work together,” said Angulo. “We are thrilled that we are cooperating and coordinating with the Camden County Board of Elections, as well as the Camden County Clerk’s Office, to put this provisional box here.
“We’re thrilled to be giving an alternative method to our residents.”