Democratic Gov. Phil Murphy is squaring up against Republican candidate Jack Ciattarelli, who previously served as a member of the New Jersey General Assembly, on Nov. 2. The election will also include local elections, such as for county commissioners, the state senate and township committees.
The state offers three options to vote: by mail, at a polling place on Election Day or via in-person early voting.
Registered voters who choose to vote by mail can drop their ballots in a secure ballot drop box or at their county’s board of elections office before 8 p.m. on Election Day. Voters can also send their ballots in the mail, but they must be postmarked on or before 8 p.m. Nov. 2 and be received by the county’s Board of Elections by Nov. 8.
Those who vote by mail will not be able to return their ballots at in-person early voting poll locations or their Election Day poll location, the state outlines.
Registered voters can also vote in-person on Election Day by visiting their local polling place between the hours of 6 a.m. and 8 p.m. on Nov. 2.
New Jersey’s newest method of voting is early in-person voting.
“In person early voting will strengthen our democracy by providing voters with more options to cast their ballot,” said Secretary of State Tahesha Way, New Jersey’s chief election officer, in a press conference announcing the legislation in March.
Phil Murphy, New Jersey’s governor, speaks at a news conference after touring the New Jersey Convention and Exposition Center Covid-19 vaccination site in Edison, New Jersey, U.S., on Friday, Jan. 15, 2021. New Jersey will expand Covid-19 vaccinations to people 65 years old and over and those ages 16 to 64 who have "health challenges," Murphy said. (Mark Kauzlarich/Bloomberg via Getty Images)
Starting Oct. 23, registered voters in the Garden State can visit a local polling place and cast their vote on a voting machine. The locations will be opened from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m Mondays through Saturdays. The locations will operate on Sundays from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. The in-person early voting will conclude on Oct. 31, two days before Election Day. No appointment is necessary to vote with this option.
Murphy is currently seeking his second term in office, and polls show him edging out Ciattarelli. One recent poll from Stockton University in late September shows Murphy getting 50% of the vote and Ciattarelli 41%, according to the 552 likely voters who were surveyed.
Murphy’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic response, which included mask requirements for students and vaccine mandates for state and health care workers, has been at the center of much of the debate. Meanwhile, Ciattarelli has voiced opposition to such mandates and described Murphy’s policies as too restrictive.