Tuesday marks last day to register in NJ to vote in November election
New Jersey residents have until Tuesday, Oct. 13 to register to vote if they wish to cast their ballot in the upcoming November presidential election.
“Every election, someone calls me after the voter registration deadline saying, ‘I’ve missed the deadline, what can I do?’” says League of Women Voters of New Jersey executive director Jesse Burns.
Burns says that unfortunately there is nothing that can be done if anyone misses the deadline.
This year’s election will be much different as New Jersey holds a mostly-by-mail election because of COVID-19 concerns. Burns says that this is also impacting registration.
“In the spring, we’re in high schools registering graduating seniors. Farmer’s markets, fairs, a lot of counties have huge fairs that we register a lot of folks. That and just kind of your typical Jersey Shore summer that didn’t exist made it a lot more difficult for us to reach folks,” Burns says.
People who have waited until the last minute to register to vote have three options. They can print and fill out the form and mail it – so long as it is postmarked by Oct. 13. They can drop the form off at their county’s registration office. Or they can use the quickest option – registering online through the state’s portal.
“You can pull up your phone right now and do it while you’re listening to this. Only takes a few minutes and there’s really no reason to wait until 11:55 p.m. at the registration deadline to use the portal,” Burns says.
Burns says that she has noticed that it is not just the main races that have hundreds of thousands of people signing up to vote – but some of the smaller races as well. She says that this is mainly because of the pandemic.
"As working parents try to figure out how they're going to juggle between their jobs, and virtual or hybrid school, it's very real that these kind of decisions are being made at the school board level and these kind of conversations,” Burns says. “So, I think that as we grapple with the real-time impact of COVID, we're understanding how much power and how much authority that our local elected officials have over every aspect of our life."
The New Jersey State Division of Elections says that more than 120,000 people registered to vote in the month of September alone.