What if I won't be able to cast my ballot on Election Day?

The General Election this year is Tuesday, November 6, 2018. If for some reason, you think you will be unable to vote in person that day -- for instance, if you are away at school or may be on vacation -- consider voting using one of the two ways described below. 

The two ways both use what is called a “Mail In” ballot.  Either you mail the application and the ballot to the applicable Union County Office, OR you can go in person to the Westfield Office of the Union County Clerk to apply for and receive your “Mail In” ballot, and then use the ballot to vote in person before Election Day there.  See below the discussion for each method.

IF YOU ARE A STUDENT AWAY FROM HOME IN THE FALL, or for any other reason you are away in the Fall, using the U.S. Mail to obtain the ballot and to vote may be best for you, as the ballots generally are not available before you leave for school.  SEE FULL INSTRUCTIONS FOR VOTING VIA US MAIL.

IF YOU WILL BE IN WESTFIELD DURING THE FALL, but are not sure you will be able or want to go to the polls on November 6, you may find it convenient to go to the Westfield Office of the Union County Clerk to apply for, receive in hand, and vote your ballot in advanceSEE FULL INSTRUCTIONS FOR GOING TO THE CLERK’s WESTFIELD OFFICE.

APPLYING FOR YOUR BALLOT AND CASTING YOUR BALLOT BY MAIL

College Students or Recent Graduates:  If you are going to be out of town this November you can still vote!  Follow the steps below to apply for your Vote By Mail (VBM) ballot to make sure that your voice is heard in this important election.

VBM IS A MULTI STEP PROCESS

First, you need to apply for your VBM Ballot. 

You will then receive your VBM ballot around the first week in October. After you receive the ballot you must mail it to the Board of Elections so that it is POSTMARKED NO LATER THAN NOVEMBER 6, 2018. IN ANY EVENT, IT MUST BE RECEIVED BY THE BOARD OF ELECTIONS BY NOVEMBER 8, 2018. To be on the safe side, mail your VBM ballot by going inside the Post Office during the last week in October, and have the postal clerk post mark the outer envelope. (Better yet, fill it out the minute you get it and go to the U.S. Post Office to get it postmarked and mailed.)

PLEASE NOTE

  • THE APPLICATION TO VOTE BY MAIL IS SENT TO THE COUNTY CLERK’S OFFICE IN ELIZABETH,  WHILE THE BALLOT IS MAILED TO THE BOARD OF ELECTIONS IN ELIZABETH.  Each document gives you the address to which that document must be sent.
  • YOU MUST USE POSTAGE STAMPS FOR THE APPLICATION AND THE VBM BALLOT

APPLY TO VOTE BY MAIL: 

STEP 1: Download the application from the web site of the Union County Clerk by clicking HERE OR pick up your application at the Westfield Office of the Union County Clerk in the Colleen Fraser Building, 300 North Avenue, Westfield, NJ.

STEP 2: Fill Out the Application (Students see discussion about section 4.)              

  • On the application, fill in sections one (1) through (9). NOTE:  You are not required to fill in your email address in section 7.   
  • In section 1, you need to check that you are requesting a ballot for the General Election and fill in the date of the election, November 6, 2018.      
  • In section 4, you must either check that the ballot be sent to the address where you are registered (Westfield) or fill in the address where you’ll be able to receive the ballot (a college dorm address). College students: Be sure to write the exact mailing address for mail at school.  You may not know that until you get there, or it may change once you are at school.  To be on the safe side, have your ballot mailed to your Westfield home. Your family can then ship it to you in the manner most likely to reach you. This is particularly important if you choose the option to have VBM ballots mailed to you automatically in the future.
  • Section 6 requires you provide your day phone. If you do not want your cell phone number to become public information, provide your home landline
  • If you fill in section 7, your email address may become a matter of public record. You  decide if  you want to provide that information.
  • Be sure to sign and date the application.

STEP 3: Mail the completed application as soon as possible to:

Joanne Rajoppi
Union County Clerk, Room 113
2 Broad Street
Elizabeth, NJ 07201-2299

Be sure to use a postage stamp.  

FOLLOWING UP ON YOUR APPLICATION

We recommend that you call the Clerk’s Office to make sure your application was received.  The Clerk’s dedicated telephone for Election questions:  908-527-4996.

The actual ballot is mailed no later than the first week in October to the address that you provided in section 4 (home or dorm). 

If you do not receive the ballot by October 22, contact the Clerk’s Office either by emailing lbobish@ucnj.org OR calling 908-527-4996. Ask whether the application was received, and, if yes, whether the ballot was mailed to you.  If the Clerk did not receive the application, you need to send in another one ASAP.  When you receive the ballot, follow the steps below. You need to complete the VBM ballot and mail it by the end of October so that the Board of Elections receives it by election day.

USING THE BALLOT. CARE MUST BE TAKEN TO USE THE 2 ENVELOPES CORRECTLY

STEP 1: Use blue or black ink to fill in your choices on the ballot.  Fill in the circles completely.

There are two envelopes:  the one you put the ballot in; and the outer envelope.

STEP 2: THE BALLOT ENVELOPE:

  • Be sure to sign the envelope for the ballot and fill in the requested information
  • Be sure to seal the envelope. The Board of Elections tears off the flap before your vote is taken out.  Secrecy of your vote is maintained. 
  • Place the sealed ballot envelope in the Outer Envelope.

STEP 3: THE OUTER ENVELOPE:

  • BE SURE TO AFFIX A POSTAGE STAMP and write your name and home address in the upper left corner of the front side OF THE OUTER ENVELOPE.
  • Then seal the outer envelope

REMEMBER: YOUR VOTE IS COUNTED ONLY IF THE VBM BALLOT IS RECEIVED BY NOVEMBER 8, 2018, with a POSTMARK NO LATER THAN ELECTION DAY, NOVEMBER 6, 2018.

VOTING AT THE WESTFIELD OFFICE OF THE UNION COUNTY CLERK

LOCATION:  The Office is on North Avenue across the street from the Westfield Diner.  The official address is the Colleen Fraser Building, 300 North Avenue, Westfield, NJ. It is the smaller of the two county buildings behind the gate.

OFFICE HOURS: 

  • Tuesdays and Thursdays: 8 am to 7:30 pm
  • Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays: 8 am to 4 pm
  • Saturdays: 9am to 1 pm

On Monday, November 5, 2018, the Office is open for voting only until 3 pm. The Monday immediately before the General Election, that is Monday, November 5, 2018, you should arrive at the Office by 2:30 pm to make sure there is enough time for the staff to do what they do and you have enough time to vote.

To have enough time to apply for your ballot and vote, arrive within a half hour of the closing time. So Tuesdays and Thursdays arrive by 7 pm; Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays arrive by 3:30 pm; and Saturdays arrive by 12:30 pm. As noted above, on November 5, you need to arrive by 2:30 pm.

IMPORTANT TO NOTE:  The Office is CLOSED FOR TWO MONDAY HOLIDAYS: Labor Day, September 3, 2018, and Columbus Day, October 8.  The Office is OPEN the Saturday before each of the holidays.

ALSO NOTE: The Monday immediately before the General Election, November 5, 2018, you should arrive at the Office by 2:30 pm.  This is different from all other Mondays when arrival should be by 3:30 pm.

For any questions, call the Clerk’s dedicated telephone for Elections questions: 908-527-4996.

HOW TO USE THE BALLOT AND THE TWO ENVELOPES

Use blue or black ink to fill in your choices on the ballot.  Fill in the circles completely.

There are two envelopes:  the one you put the ballot in; and the outer envelope.

  • Be sure to sign the envelope for the ballot and fill in the requested information and be sure to seal it. The Board of Elections tears off the flap before your vote is taken out.  Secrecy of your vote is maintained. 
  • Place the sealed ballot envelope in the Outer Envelope.
  • Write your name and address in the upper left corner of the front side ON THE OUTER ENVELOPE.  THEN SEAL THE OUTER ENVELOPE and return it to the staff at the Clerk's office.