The Burlington County Clerk’s Office has started sending out Vote-By-Mail ballots for the upcoming General Election and is encouraging voters to be on the lookout for them and take care not to discard or damage them.
More than 315,000 Vote-by-Mail ballots were printed for the November 3 election, which is being conducted largely with VBM ballots due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. The County began mailing the ballots and return envelopes to voters today and anticipates they will begin arriving in voters’ mailboxes later this week.
Every registered voter is automatically being sent a ballot, regardless of whether they requested one this year or during past elections.
“We printed enough ballots for all registered voters plus extras to ensure there are enough available for those who register between now and the Oct. 13 voter registration deadline or for any voters who lose or damage their ballot,” said Burlington County Clerk Joanne Schwartz.
To request a replacement ballot, call the Clerk’s Office at 609-265-5229. Voters who have not received a ballot by Oct. 13 should also contact the Clerk.
Besides printing additional ballots, the Clerk’s Office implemented new procedures to guard against printing mistakes and mailing errors, including assigning a staff member to be present in the election warehouse at all times that ballots are being assembled and sorted.
Steps were also taken to ensure the correct number of ballots are prepared and mailed and that every envelope contains a ballot, instructions letter and postage paid return envelope. Each towns’ ballots were also sorted, packaged and mailed separately in order to guard against errors.
“We’re proactively putting these safeguards in place to make sure every registered voter gets the correct ballot, instructions and return envelope,” Schwartz said. “This may be a different election than voters are accustomed to, but we’re taking all possible actions to ensure they can vote safely and securely.”
Voters also have several different methods to submit their ballots, including the mail, secure drop boxes or by bringing them to the Board of Elections Office in Mount Holly or to their assigned polling locations on Election Day. Accommodations will also be available for voters with disabilities, including machine voting for those unable to complete and sign a Vote-by-Mail or provisional ballot.
“We’ve heard from constituents anxious or confused about how they will be able to vote and whether the process will be secure,” Burlington County Board Director Felicia Hopson said. “I’m pleased by the actions taken by the Clerk’s Office to ensure that every registered voter receives their correct ballot and that they will have multiple options to submit their ballot and ensure their vote is counted.”
Additional information about how to vote and track your ballot is available at nj.gov/state/elections/vote.shtml and at the County Clerk’s webpage, www.co.burlington.nj.us/192/County-Clerk.
A new email address, firstname.lastname@example.org, was created specifically for voters to contact the Clerk’s Office with any questions or concerns about their Vote-by-Mail ballots. The Clerk’s Office can be reached directly by phone at 609-265-5229.
Photos: Vote-by Mail ballots and envelopes are prepared and stored at a warehouse before being mailed out to voters.