General Election FAQs

Posted on November 3, 2020

The General Election is scheduled for November 3 and will be conducted primarily by using vote by mail ballots submitted by US Mail, in a ballot drop box, or to a Board of Elections employee.  There will be no voting on a machine except for voters in need of assistance due to a disability. With the exception of those persons, all in-person voting at polls will be done by provisional paper ballot.

To request a duplicate mail-in ballot (if your ballot is damaged or lost, etc.), please click here.

Below is a comprehensive list of answers to common issues related to the election from the Somerset County Clerk, also available at https://www.co.somerset.nj.us/2020General.

General Election FAQs

 

When is the 2020 General Election?
How do I request a replacement ballot?
Can I get in-person help with voting?
How do I track my ballot to be sure it is received?
Where are the drop boxes?
Can I vote in person?
Do I need to put a stamp on my ballot?
What if someone is no longer at my address?
Who will count my ballot?
Why does my signature matter?
How can I submit my Vote by Mail Ballot?
Who is eligible to cast a ballot?
What are the key dates for the 2020 Election?
How long will it take to get final Election Results?
Will a preliminary vote count be available?

 

ASKING QUESTIONS NOT ANSWERED IN THE FAQs

The fastest way to get answers to election questions to use the online form at https://www.co.somerset.nj.us/government/elected-officials/county-clerk/2020-election-guide/election-questions/.The County Clerk’s Office will answer within one business day.

  • When is the 2020 General Election?

    The General Election is scheduled for November 3 and will be conducted mainly by mail-in ballots.
    To request a duplicate mail-in ballot (if you have misplaced or made a mistake on yours, etc.), please click here

    Per Governor Phil Murphy’s Executive Order 177, all active voters will be mailed 2020 General Election ballots automatically, and with certain exceptions as outlined below all voting will be done using vote by mail ballots submitted by US Mail, in a ballot drop box, or to a Board of Elections employee. The Somerset County Clerk’s Office will continue to update this page to ensure voters have the information and resources to ensure their ballots are properly filled out and counted.

  • How do I request a replacement Ballot?

    If your ballot is lost or damaged, you can request a replacement ballot in person (online requests closed 10-24-20)  in the atrium of  the County Administration Building at 20 Grove Street in Somerville from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on weekdays, Saturdays from 9 a.m. to noon, and on election day from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. Masks and practicing social distancing required.  More at: https://www.co.somerset.nj.us/government/elected-officials/county-clerk/election-division/vote-by-mail/request-duplicate-ballot 

  • Can I get in-person help with voting?

    YES of course!  Please view our instructional slideshow and video!

    If those options do not help, the atrium of the Somerset County Administration Building has been opened from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on weekdays to provide assistance to voters in registering, submitting ballots, or obtaining a replacement for lost or damaged ballots.

    Somerset County Board of Elections staff will be available to:

    • Assist new voters in registering to vote. Those interested in registering who cannot make office hours can also register to vote online at  https://voter.svrs.nj.gov/register;
    • Accept mail-in ballots from voters who wish to hand their ballot to a person. Voters will be required to present identification, have a completed mail-in ballot enclosed in the certificate and mailing envelope, and sign the registration book.

    Somerset County Clerk staff will be available to assist voters in:

      • Obtaining a mail-in ballot whether for new registration, or those requiring a duplicate ballot because of a misplaced, damaged, or improperly filled out ballot.

  • How do I track my ballot to be sure it is received?

  • Once your ballot has been entered into the Statewide Voter Registration System (SVRS) it can be tracked by going to the New Jersey Department of State,  Division of Elections website. The unprecedented nature of this election requires all ballots to be hand verified, and that process takes some time.  We are asking for everyone’s patience as Somerset County’s Board of Elections, Clerk and voters work to provide a free, fair and transparent election process. It may take a little longer than usual, but we are committed to making it happen.

    There is a known issue with logging in to the state system with a Voter ID. Every voter ID starts with a letter, not a number. Many times the letter “o” or letter “i” look like the numbers zero and one when capitalized. Be sure when entering your Voter ID that the first character is a letter and not a number.

    Where are the drop boxes?

    There are 13 drop boxes in Somerset County. You can find them on the Board of Elections web page or with our new GIS map that also includes the polling places in Somerset County. 
    Montgomery Township’s Drop Box is at the front entrance to the municipal building at 2261 Rt. 206, Belle Mead, NJ 08502.  The Drop Box is outside the front glass doors at top of front stairs; it is red, white, and blue in color. It is secured by camera and is available 24 hrs a day.

  • Can I vote in person?

    The short answer is that the vast majority of voters will not be able to vote in person this election due to COVID-19 restrictions. Voting in person is extremely limited for the 2020 General election, and there will be no voting on a machine except for voters in need of assistance due to a disability.

    The primary way to vote is using a vote-by-mail ballot submitted by US Mail, at one of 13 ballot drop boxes in Somerset County, or by bringing your ballot to the County Administration Building at 20 Grove Street in Somerville from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on weekdays.

    Voters can bring their own vote-by-mail ballot to their designated polling place to hand to a polling worker on election day, or if they do not have their vote-by-mail ballot they can cast a paper provisional paper ballot.  Bearers cannot bring another voter’s ballot to a polling place, but must submit them to a ballot drop box or the Board of Elections.

    There will be at least one polling location in every Somerset County town from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Tuesday, November 3, 2020. A list of polling places can be found at https://somerset.maps.arcgis.com/apps/webappviewer/index.html?id=3c9791810cc447c2bd7524861b20c20f

  • Do I need to put a stamp on my ballot?

    NO. Ballots for the 2020 General Election will have a prepaid label so that voters can submit their ballot without paying postage. The ballots will be considered first class mail, so there is no benefit to the voter if they use a stamp.

  • What if someone is no longer at my address?

    If you receive a ballot at your address for someone who does not live there, do not be alarmed. Some people have moved or passed away and not notified the Board of Elections and as such have not been removed from the rolls. Simply write RETURN TO SENDER on the envelope and place it back in the mail. It will be sent back to the County and begin the process of ensuring the voter is no longer eligible to vote at that address.

  • Who will count my ballot?

    The Somerset County Board of Elections is responsible for counting all Vote by Mail and provisional ballots, regardless of how these ballots are submitted. The Board of Elections is made up of four members, two Republicans and two Democrats who work together to ensure the vote count is accurate, transparent, and fair. Once they have counted the paper ballots, they submit the results to the County Clerk, Steve Peter, who adds in the machine vote from voters in need of assistance and then certifies the election.

  • Why does my signature matter?

    You must make sure your signature matches your voter registration form – To prevent invalid ballots from being counted, every mail in ballot will be reviewed by Somerset County Board of Elections personnel with both Democratic and Republican staff present. The name, address, and signature are checked against the voter database records for verification and to determine if the voter has cast another ballot. If the signature does not match the signature on record, the ballot is put aside and the voter will be mailed a “Cure Letter” within 24 hours notifying them of the disposition of their ballot, as well as a “Cure Form” they can return verifying their identity with designated IDs or official documents/utility bills.

  • How can I submit my Vote by Mail Ballot?

    There are several ways to submit your ballot:

      • Ballots can be submitted by mailing them to the address on the pre-printed envelope with a postmark before 8 p.m. on Tuesday, November 3, 2020. It is highly recommended that mail-in voters submit their ballot earlier.
      • Ballots can be submitted by inserting them in one of the Ballot Drop-Off Boxes throughout Somerset County. There will be at least 13 Ballot Drop-Off Boxes in the County, with their locations to be announced in late September. Current Ballot Drop-Off Boxes can be found on the Board of Elections website.
      • Voters can come to the County Administration Building at 20 Grove Street in Somerville between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. on weekdays and deliver their ballot to a Board of Election staff member. Voters submitting their ballot this way must present identification and sign the ballot registration book.
      • Voters can go to a polling location from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Tuesday, November 3, 2020. There will be at least one polling location in every Somerset County town. Voters can bring their vote-by-mail ballot to a polling place, or if they do not have their vote-by-mail ballot they can cast a paper provisional ballot. Voters who are disabled and require an accommodation can vote on a special device to assist them.
      • VIDEOS FOR ON HOW BALLOTS ARE BEING ACCEPTED AND COUNTEDFreeholder Director Shanel Robinson: https://youtu.be/sHSxDl7ZJmEElection Board Administrator Jerry Midgette: https://youtu.be/_3M6zzKVHcg
      • VIDEOS ON HOW TO CAST AND SUBMIT A BALLOT County Clerk’s Ballot Video (English) https://youtu.be/94oPOmsKKf4County Clerk’s Ballot Video (Spanish) https://youtu.be/jlL_yL11YKEVoting Photo Slideshow https://www.co.somerset.nj.us/government/elected-officials/county-clerk/election-division/2020-general/voting-steps (we can provide images and captions if you want to put this on your website, or you can link to the Clerk’s)

  • Who is eligible to cast a ballot?

    Every Active Registered Voter Will Receive a Vote by Mail Ballot.

    Ballots were mailed out the week of September 21-25 to every active registered voter in Somerset County from the Clerk’s Office by October 5 and should begin arriving in late September.  If you have not received a ballot in a timely manner, please call the Clerk’s Office at 908-231-7013 to determine if there is an issue.

    New voters who register by October 13 and inactive voters who restore their state to active before October 23 will receive their ballots in the mail automatically. New voter registration for the 2020 General Election has closed.

    Inactive voters can update their voter registration up to Election Day, November 3, to be eligible to vote with a Vote by Mail ballot.  If they update their registration by October 23 they will be sent a ballot automatically, or if they do it later can pick it up at the County Administration Building, 20 Grove Street in Somerville, NJ. Inactive voters who have not yet updated their registration can also visit their assigned polling location on Election Day and vote using a paper provisional ballot.

    To check if you are an active registered voter, visit https://voter.svrs.nj.gov/registration-check or call the Somerset County Board of Elections at (908) 231-7084. If you discover you are listed as an inactive voter, you can re-register online or with a paper form: (English Application)  (Solicitud en Español) .

  • What are the key dates for the 2020 Election?

      • Monday, October 5 – Ballots for active voters will be mailed out by this date. Ballots can be submitted as soon as they are received, which may happen before this date.
      • Tuesday, October 13 – This is the last day to register to vote and be able to cast a ballot in the 2020 General Election.  (English Application)  (Solicitud en Español) (Online Application)
      • Friday, October 23 – This is the last day to request a replacement ballot through the mail. Ballots can still be requested in person at the County Clerk’s office (location TBD due to COVID restrictions) through 8 p.m. on November 3, 2020.
      • Wednesday, October 28 – This is the last day Qualified Overseas and Military Voters can request electronic balloting.
      • Tuesday, November 3, 2020 – Election Day.
      • Monday, November 23 – Certification of election results.

  • How long will it take to get final Election Results?

    Because the 2020 General Election is being conducted primarily by mail, the ballot count will take longer than in previous years. Voters and the public are asked for their patience as the process is completed to ensure a free, fair, and transparent election process.

    Ballots that are postmarked on Election Day, November 3, will be counted by the Board of Elections if they arrive within seven days on November 10. This means that there will still be votes arriving a week after the balloting closes, and the same care and concern to ensure these ballots are valid and counted must be taken to ensure a fair and transparent election.

    Following the final counting of the mail-in ballots, the Board of Elections  will then count any provisional ballots cast at polling locations. These must be verified as being cast by valid voters, and then compared against the mail-in ballot records to ensure no voter has cast two ballots.

  • Will a preliminary vote count be available?

    The first preliminary and unofficial votes will be available online on the County Clerk’s website late on Election Night , and be updated online as the Board of Elections delivers new counts of mail in and provisional ballots. The counts must be completed by both the Board of Elections on Friday, November 20 and the Clerk by Monday, November 23 and certified that day by the Clerk.

    However, at this time campaigns still have the right to challenge election results and request recounts, and as such results may still change after this date.