Changes to New Jersey’s Vote-By-Mail Law

New Jersey recently amended its vote-by-mail law to expand voter access and increase election turnout. The new law automatically registers everyone that voted by mail in the November 2016 election to receive a vote-by-mail ballot for the upcoming November 6, 2018 general election and all future elections unless the voter notifies their county clerk in writing that he or she no longer wishes to receive a vote-by-mail ballot.

A voter who fails to return his or her vote-by-mail ballot can still vote on Election Day by completing a provisional ballot at their polling place. Also, the new law states that every vote-by-mail ballot that is postmarked by Election Day and received by the county board of elections within 48 hours after the closing of the polls shall be considered valid and must be counted. Previously, vote-by-mail ballots needed to be received by the closing of the polls.

In addition, there are 4 bills pending in the New Jersey Legislature to make further changes to the vote-by-mail law, including requiring vote-by-mail applications at polling places; requiring vote-by-mail applications to be postmarked at least 7 days before the election; creating a vote-by mail signature database; and permitting a voter who received a vote-by-mail ballot to cancel it and be issued a new one at least 7 days before the election.

For more information on proposed changes to the vote-by-mail law, or any issue with respect to elections, please contact Rebecca Moll Freed, Esq., Chair of the Corporate Political Activity Law Group, at rfreed@genovaburns.com or 973-230-2075.