VOTE BY MAIL ASSISTANCE IS AVAILABLE TO OCEAN COUNTY VOTERS
Fri Oct 09 2020 04:00:00 GMT+0000 (Coordinated Universal Time)
Assistance for VBM
Whether in-person or online, assistance is available to Ocean County voters who need help with the vote-by-mail process being implemented for the Nov. 3 General Election.
"We are doing all we can to provide as much information as possible to voters who may not be used to voting with a mail-in ballot," said Ocean County Freeholder Gary Quinn, liaison to the Ocean County Clerk's office. "While voters have always had the opportunity to vote-by-mail in Ocean County upon request, traditionally they have cast their ballot on a voting machine at their polling place on Election Day. Due to changes ordered by Gov. Murphy that isn't the case for most voters in New Jersey this year."
Ocean County voters who need assistance in obtaining or replacing a vote-by-mail ballot for a host of reasons can now get in-person help from the staff at the Ocean County Clerk's Election Services office.
To make assistance for voters convenient and accessible, the Ocean County Clerk's Elections Services staff is available to help from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday in the Mancini Hall of the main branch of the Ocean County Library, 101 Washington St., here. Hours on Columbus Day, Monday, Oct. 12 will be from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
"The County Clerk staff is available to assist registered voters who may need to obtain a vote-by-mail ballot, whether because they did not receive one, they lost their ballot, made a mistake on the ballot, tore, defaced it or incorrectly marked the ballot," Quinn said. "Registered voters can fill out an affidavit in person at Mancini Hall and obtain a replacement ballot.
"In addition, voters can complete the ballot on site and return it in the secure Ballot Drop Box located in front of the Library," Quinn said.
The hours for vote-by-mail ballot help will be extended to 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., in Mancini Hall starting Tuesday, Oct. 27 through Friday, Oct. 30.
In addition, there will be Saturday and Sunday hours from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on both Oct. 31 and Nov. 1. And from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., on Monday, Nov. 2 and Tuesday, Nov. 3. Election Day, all in Mancini Hall at the main branch of the Ocean County Library. Voters can also call 732-929-2018 for information.
Ocean County voters should check their mail for their vote-by-mail ballots. All active registered voters living in Ocean County have been mailed vote-by-mail ballots.
Quinn noted the County Clerk's Office accomplished the task prior to the state deadline of Oct. 5.
"More than 420,000 ballots have been distributed through the mail by the Ocean County Clerk's Office," Quinn said. "This has been a huge job and has been done with the assistance from the staff of nearly every county government department."
Quinn noted that as people get their ballots questions are being raised.
Changes to how votes can be cast during the 2020 General Election have been ordered by Gov. Murphy in accordance with Public Law 2020, Chapter 72 which calls for a primarily vote-by mail General Election.
While there will be a limited number of polling places open on Election Day, only people with disabilities will be able to access and vote on a voting machine at an assigned polling location. Anyone else going to the polls can either drop off the vote-by-mail ballot or will have to vote provisionally.
Ocean County election officials are urging voters to fill out their ballots and return them as soon as possible.
"Do not delay returning your ballot to the Ocean County Board of Elections," advised Ocean County Freeholder Virginia E. Haines, who serves as liaison to the Board of Elections.
She noted that Ocean County voters have several options for returning the vote-by-mail ballot.
Completed ballots can be dropped into any one of 17 secure drop boxes that have been set up in safe locations throughout the county. A complete list is available on the Ocean County webpage at www.co.ocean.nj.us.
"The drop box locations are under 24-hour security surveillance monitored by the County," Quinn said.
The majority of the locations for the boxes are outside branches of the Ocean County Library and other public buildings patrolled by security. The deadline for placing your ballot in one of the secure drop boxes is 8 p.m., Nov. 3.
Voters can also mail in their ballots using the prepaid envelope, drop it off at the Ocean County Board of Elections Office, 129 Hooper Ave., here, or drop it off at their local polling location on Election Day, Nov. 3.
"We don't recommend waiting until Election Day to drop it off at your assigned polling place," Quinn said. "The sooner it's returned the better."
Because the vote-by-mail has resulted in many questions from citizens, there is now a list of frequently asked questions in the updates box on the Ocean County website at www.co.ocean.nj.us. to help answer some of the questions voters have including who to contact with questions about the vote-by-mail ballot.
Voters seeking additional information are also encouraged to visit the Ocean County Clerk website at www.oceancountyclerk.com and click on the View Nov. 3 General Election Information link or visit the Clerk's Facebook page at facebook.com/oceancountyclerk. There are instructional videos and important links for specific election information all of which can be accessed 7 days a week, 24-hours a day.
The Ocean County Board of Elections can be reached by calling (732) 929-2167.