Vote-By-Mail (VBM) FAQS

Q:  Why did I get a mail-in ballot even though I didn’t request one?

Due to the ongoing pandemic, Governor Murphy signed Executive Order 144 requiring the County Clerk to send all active registered voters a vote-by-mail ballot for the upcoming November 3rd General Election. For many of us this may be our first time voting with a vote-by-mail ballot. Check out this “How to fill out your vote-by-mail ballot” video for step-by-step instructions on how to fill out and return your VBM ballot. (SEE BELOW)

Q:  What if I need a second vote-by-mail ballot?  / Didn’t receive the first VBM ballot? / Accidentally threw away or misplaced the first VBM ballot? / Made a mistake filling out the first VBM ballot?

You need to fill out a request for a second vote-by-mail ballot. For a second ballot request form click here

Q:  What are the options for returning my completed vote-by-mail ballot?

There are 3 ways to return/deliver your completed vote-by-mail ballot. Don’t delay, return your completed VBM ballot today

1. Mail via the US Postal Service

  • No postage necessary
  • Must be postmarked on or before November 3, 2020

2.    Deposit in one of the secure drop boxes located throughout Essex County

3.    Hand it to a human at the Essex County Board of Elections/Hall of Records office and be prepared to show ID (identification)

  • Regular office hours are Mon – Fri 9:00 AM to 4:00 PM
  • On November 3 office hours will be extended to close late at 8:00 PM
  • The street address is 465 Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Boulevard, Newark, NJ 07102
  • You need to enter the building through the back entrance
  • Remember to bring your ID

Q:  What if I need help filling out my vote-by-mail ballot?

You may ask someone to help you fill out your ballot. If someone helps you fill out your ballot, the helper must fill in the bottom portion of the “CERTIFICATE OF MAIL-IN VOTER” envelope. In the space titled “ANY PERSON PROVIDING ASSISTANCE…” the person providing assistance fills in:

  • Their signature
  • Prints their name (not your name)
  • Prints their address (not your address)

Q:  What if I need help delivering my vote-by-mail ballot?

You may ask someone else to deliver your ballot. If someone delivers your completed VBM ballot for you, they need to fill out the “bearer portion” of the BUSINESS REPLY MAIL return envelope. This is the area on the envelope titled “TO PROTECT YOUR VOTE” with lines for the bearer to fill in:

  • First line bearer’s signature
  • Second line bearer prints their own name (not your name)
  • Third line bearer prints their own address (not your address)

Q:  Can I vote at my regular polling place on Election Day?

Q:  What if I need a provisional ballot?

A limited number of polling places will be open on Election Day from 6:00 AM to 8:00 AM. Only provisional paper ballots are available to cast your ballot at these locations. These locations will also have disability accessible ballots available and ADA compliant machines. Please note the ward and district information for these locations is pending. If you need further information now, please call (973) 621-4922.

Q:  What if I have a disability and need an accessible ballot?

Please call the Essex County Clerk’s office at (973) 621-4922 for assistance.

Q:  What if I am living, working, or serving in the military outside the US?

You have the option of voting by fax or email. Visit for more information on voting from out the US or call the Essex County Clerk’s office at +1 (973) 621-4922 for assistance.

Q:  What if I am not registered to vote?

The deadline to register to vote in the October 13, 2020

Not sure if and where you are registered, Click here

Q Who is eligible to vote in New Jersey?

To register to vote in New Jersey you must be:

  • a United States Citizen
  • at least 18 years old by the next election
  • a resident of your home county for 30 days before the election

You are not eligible to register to vote if you are serving a sentence or are on parole or probation, as a result of a conviction of an indictable offense under state or federal law, or have been adjudged mentally incompetent. The Commissioners of Registration cannot accept faxed copies or an electronic transmission of a voter registration form, since an original signature is required. The Voter Registration Form can also be used for name and address changes. Forms must be received 21 days prior to the next election to be able to vote in that election.

Q: What if I am not registered to vote

If you live in Essex County Download Forms here

Not in Essex County

New Register online:, Starting September 4, 2020, you will be able to register to vote online. We will post the link when it becomes available

Q:  Can I vote online?

No, you cannot vote online. You can download voter registration forms and VBM applications online, but they must be mailed in or hand delivered. You cannot submit photocopies or faxes of your voter registration, VBM application or VBM ballot. Only your original documents with your original signature will be accepted.

You can download key voter registration and request forms here:

Or you can register online

Second ballot request form Click to download

Register to vote Click to download

How to Vote By Mail (Video) ( This video contains information from the past July 2020 primary. Filling out, signing and preparing your ballot to return remains the same)

Chris Durkin, Essex County CLerk