Voter Registration in New Jersey
New Jersey requires voter registration before its residents may participate in elections in the state. In addition, the process to register to vote requires that all those seeking to cast a ballot in a New Jersey election meet certain guidelines for eligibility. These guidelines typically include age restrictions as well as proof of residency within the state and United States citizenship status. New Jersey provides several options to make sure voters get registered so they can participate in elections. Among them is the option to use the New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission (MVC) as a conduit for registration.
Some circumstances may prohibit New Jersey residents from voter registration and the eligibility to participate in elections as well. To find out more about the process and how you can go about registering to vote please continue to read the rest of the article below.
Who Can Register to Vote in New Jersey?
Voter registration in New Jersey requires that residents wishing to take part in any elections meet with criteria as set forth in state statutes. In order to register for ballot access, and then cast a ballot in an election at local, state, or federal level elections, residents of New Jersey must prove they meet the following guidelines:
- Citizenship – United States citizenship is mandatory for voter registration and access to ballots in any elections held in New Jersey.
- Residency – It is required that you prove your legal domicile is in the state of New Jersey in order to register. You must be a resident of the state for a minimum of 30 days prior to the next election in order to be eligible.
- Age – Additionally, you must be at least 18 years of age by the time the next Election Day arrives in order to take part.
- Criminal Record – No one may cast a ballot in an election who is currently incarcerated, on parole or on probation for a felony conviction.
- If you have been released from incarceration, parole, or probation you may vote in an election, but you must first re-register to vote.
New Jersey Voter Registration Deadline
The voter registration deadline in New Jersey is 21 days prior to any election day. For residents who are unsure of their registration status, they may confirm this online by logging into the Department of State website. You will need to provide the following for confirmation of registration status:
- First name
- Last name
- Date of birth
How to Register to Vote in New Jersey
Registering to vote in New Jersey is quite simple so long as you meet the qualifications. Once you determine that you do you may complete the process by simply filling out an application and submitting it to your local election officials. You may also register to vote at your local MVC office when you apply for a driver’s license or state ID card or when you go to renew one. Other government agencies that can assist New Jersey residents with getting registered include:
- The Division of Developmental Disabilities
- United States Armed Forces Recruitment Centers
- County Welfare Agency offices
The Department of State website provides a full listing of all the agencies and offices within the state that can help residents with getting registered to vote accomplished.
Early Voting in New Jersey
New Jersey permits voter registration for early voting without having to provide an excuse for doing so. Early voting can be done by mail by completing an application for a Vote by Mail ballot. This application is then submitted to your local clerk’s office. However, only members serving in the Armed Forces or citizens living overseas may submit this application by fax or email.
New Jersey Voter Registration for Active Duty Military and Out-Of-State Residents
Besides using standard voter registration procedures in New Jersey, members of the United States Armed Forces and citizens and residents of New Jersey living overseas may use the Federal Voting Assistance Program (FVAP). To use this system, you must fill out the Voter Registration and Absentee Ballot Request Federal Post Card Application Form (FPCA) and return it to the offices of your local elections official. Or you can opt for the vote by mail system by returning that application to your local clerk’s office. There is an online assistant to help you fill out the forms. The FVAP allows you to register to vote and request an absentee ballot at the same time. However, you must renew this application every year you find yourself overseas or out of state.
New Jersey Voter Registration for Absentee Voting
New Jersey residents who are eligible and elect to register to vote and cast their election ballots from outside the state can simply follow the same procedure for those in the military or living abroad.
How to Change Your Voter Registration in New Jersey
For voter registration change of address, or to change other information such as party affiliation or your name, you can do so by completing a new voter registration application and turning it in to the Commissioners of Registration office located in your county. To change your party affiliation for a primary election, you must do so no less than 55 days before a primary election. You can do this by submitting a completed Political Party Affiliation Declaration form to your local elections office either in person or by mail. If you need to change your name on your voter registration, you should be sure to go through the driver’s license name change process first or change the name on your other forms of ID.