- Why you should vote NO on ballot question #3
- How to vote in New Jersey’s general election in 2020
1. Say NO to gerrymandering — vote NO on question #3
In less than one month, the election of our lifetime — already underway — will conclude. On our ballot are decisions that will determine everything from the fate of our democracy to whether our towns, police, and schools reflect our values. Please make sure to vote (see information below), and to send your ballot in as early as possible so that any problems can be remedied before Nov 3rd.
Importantly, your New Jersey ballot includes a ballot question — question #3 — regarding postponing redistricting by two years when census results arrive after Feb 15th. This year, due to COVID-19, the results will be delayed. However, the question is not asking you to decide what will happen this year, but rather, to amend the New Jersey constitution so that the effects of COVID-19 linger for generations.
GGCNJ, together with many other organizations, urges a NO vote on ballot question #3.
There is no need for a permanent change for a one-time problem. Moreover, there are much better ways to permanently align ourselves with the census, in particular, moving elections to even years (as is the case in 48 other states). Elections in even years will be cheaper, increase participation, and allow redistricting immediately after every census, without delays.
Postponing redistricting to years ending with “3” (as is proposed in question 3) has no advantages, but has considerable disadvantages as it dilutes the power of communities in areas of NJ that have grown the most since the last census. This is a form of gerrymandering. The nonpartisan Fair Districts New Jersey coalition, which has been working to reform NJ’s redistricting process so it better serves the residents of our state, is also urging a NO vote on question 3.
A YES vote on question #3 is a vote for further disenfranchisement of voters, especially in more diverse communities, who will be denied fair representation for two years (or, in the case of senate elections, four years). This amendment will undermine redistricting for decades, and will help politicians, not people.
Vote NO on ballot question #3
2. How to vote in New Jersey in 2020
(the below is a summary from this training)
- All active registered voters will be getting ballots in the mail. Use Vote.NJ.gov to check your registration status. If you are not registered, you can register online — the deadline to register is Tuesday, Oct 13th!!
- Voting on Election Day in the polls will be by paper provisional ballots, so it is better and recommended to use the mailed ballot. You do not have to use USPS to return your mail-in ballot (see below). In any case, ALL ballots cast will be counted if eligible, including provisional ballots.
- There are 3 components of the mailed ballot: Ballot, certificate, return envelope.
- Ballot: Vote with PEN not pencil, blue or black ink. Make sure to turn the ballot around as there are often questions on the back.
- Put ballot inside the certificate and fill the certificate without detaching it. Make sure to sign, then seal (the certificate is an inner envelope).
- Put the sealed certificate into the prepaid postage return envelope, and seal.
- If you messed something up (e.g., detached the certificate; marked too many candidates), you can request a replacement ballot as long as you have not returned your ballot. After mailing in or otherwise returning your ballot, it cannot be recalled.
- There are several ways to return the filled ballot:
- by mail (it has to be postmarked by 8pm Nov 3)
- by secure ballot drop box – there are several in each county (most are at municipal buildings or fire houses); these are 100% secure with 24h camera surveillance and secure emptying every day including weekends.
- deliver to board of elections – please check the location and hours of operations
- deliver to polling place on Election Day — important: only the voter can return the ballot to the polling location, and it has to be the correct polling place. As not all the polling locations will be open this year, find your polling place here.
- Bearers: If someone else transports your ballot, they are a “bearer”. Bearer must sign the portion of the outer envelope, and can only bear up to 3 envelopes (apart from their own) even to secure ballot boxes. Only you can bring your ballot to drop it off at the polling location on Election Day.
- Track your ballot at trackmyballot.nj.gov using your drivers license, voter ID or last 4 digits of SSN. Your voter ID can be found on the “Am I registered” page. It is recommended to make an account with that ID. This page will let you know that your ballot was received, and whether it was accepted (the latter only after Nov 3rd).
- If something is wrong, you can cure your ballot thanks to the Ballot Cures Act. Within 24h after the decision to reject a ballot, you will be sent a letter by mail, email, and they will try to call by phone. There is a cure form and you will have a chance to cure the ballot. Please do not wait with this, in case more curing is needed. All curing must be done and received by Nov 18. Curing is ongoing and letters are sent as soon as a problem is found — please return your ballot early to allow for curing.
- Every ballot sent by mail must be postmarked by Election Day to be counted, but can be received up to a week later (there were issues with postmarking in some counties in the primary election, so don’t wait for last minute!). Ballots without a postmark will be counted if certified by post office that they arrived on time. But see the other options for returning your ballot above — you do not have to mail your ballot in.
- Applications to be a poll worker on Election Day (which is a paid job) can be made through vote.nj.gov