Elections, Take Action, Victory 2020

Vote by Mail (VBM) FAQ

The below is a reprint of the FAQs provided on the Union County Votes website.

Due to COVID-19, the November 3rd General Election in New Jersey will be primarily Vote-by-Mail. 

Governor Murphy signed Executive Order #177 stating that the November 3rd General Election will be conducted primarily by Vote-by-Mail (“VBM”), with limited in-person polling locations on General Election Day. VBM will be new to many Union County residents. It is important for voters to understand how the new process will work so we can be sure our votes are valid under the new rules. Make sure your vote counts.


Why can’t I vote on a machine?
Governor Murphy’s Executive Order 177 calls for a primarily paper election amidst the COVID-19 global pandemic. Only persons with disabilities will be permitted to vote on an ADA compliant voting machine.

Who will get a vote by mail ballot?
All registered, active voters will automatically get a vote by mail ballot, regardless of party affiliation.

When will I receive my vote by mail ballot?
Vote by mail ballots will be mailed in waves starting in September. Kindly contact the Union County Clerk’s Office for more information at [email protected] or 908-527-4996.
  • Vote By Mail Ballots are being sent out in SCOTCH PLAINS on: September 28, 2020


Do I have to put a stamp to return the VBM Ballot?
NO. All VBM Ballots will have prepaid return postage.

What will the VBM Ballot look like?
The ballot will be posted on the Union County Clerk’s website at www.unioncountyvotes.com  as soon as it is available.

What if I go to a polling location?
If you go to a polling location, you will be provided with a paper, provisional ballot, which is just like a vote by mail ballot. However, an ADA compliant voting machine will be available for persons with disabilities which prevent them from voting on a paper ballot. The disabled voter will have to certify on an affidavit that they cannot vote on a paper ballot due to their disability.

How can I return my ballot and what are the deadlines?
Deadline to return ballots to a drop box OR in person to the Board of Elections is 8pm on Election Day, November 3, 2020.
  • Return your ballot to a Secure Ballot Drop Box: There will be 22 ballot drop boxes located throughout the county. Ballot drop boxes are ADA compliant, under camera surveillance 24/7 and all ballots are picked up by a bi-partisan team of UCBOE employees every day. The deadline to return your ballot to a secure ballot drop box is 8pm on Election Day.
  • Return your ballot in person (requires a NJ Driver’s License or NJ Issued ID):
    • Union County Board of Elections, 271 No. Broad Street, Elizabeth (8am – 4pm
    • Union County Clerk’s Office, 2 Broad Street, Room 113, Elizabeth (8:30am – 4:30pm)
    • Union County Clerk’s Annex Office, 300 North Avenue East, Westfield (M/W/F: 8am – 4pm; Tu/Th: 8am – 7:30pm; and Sat., 9am – 1pm)
    • Call the respective offices for extended hours and special openings.
    • The deadline to return your ballot to the Union County Board of Elections is 8pm on Election Day.
  • Return your ballot via the United States Postal Service: Postage for returning your Vote by Mail Ballot has been prepaid. Your ballot must be postmarked on or before Election Day and received by the Union County Election Board by November 10, 2020. If your ballot is mailed, but not postmarked by the USPS, it must be received by the Union County Election Board by November 5.
  • Return your ballot to your designated polling location on Election Day: If you choose to return your ballot to your designated polling location on Election Day, you will be required to stand in line, sign the poll book and hand your ballot to the poll worker. You may not return a ballot at a polling location for anyone else except yourself. The deadline to return your ballot to your designated polling location is 8pm on Election Day.

What is the deadline to register to vote for the November 3rd General Election?
October 13, 2020

How can I request a vote by mail ballot if I am a new voter?
The option to request a vote by mail ballot is on the voter registration form. If you choose to receive a ballot for all future elections, you will receive a ballot for every election, until you opt out in writing. You may also contact the County Clerk’s office at 908-527-4996 or [email protected]. Finally, you may download the vote by mail application at www.unioncountyvotes.com.

Where is my polling location?
Polling locations have been consolidated pursuant to the Executive Order and therefore your polling location may have changed. To find your polling location, visit www.ucnj.org/ucboe or call 908-527-4123 after September 15, 2020. You will receive a postcard approximately a week prior to Election Day which will include your polling location for the November 3rd General Election. Finally, your local municipal clerk can also assist you.

How can I vote for a candidate who is of a different party than I am?
In a General Election, you may vote for whichever party, one or multiple, you choose. Pay attention to the “Vote for” number under the contest heading. For example, you may “Vote for ONE” candidate for President or “Vote for THREE” candidates for Freeholder. You may vote for fewer, but not more.

How do I make sure my Vote by Mail ballot counts?
It is important that voters read the instructions on their vote by mail ballot very carefully. Here are ways to prevent the most common mistakes:
  • Mark your ballot with a black or blue pen by completely filling in the oval next to the candidate for whom you wish to vote.
  • Put your ballot in the certificate envelope and seal it.
  • Complete and Sign the certificate on the certificate envelope.
  • Do not detach the certificate from the certificate envelope.
  • Put the certificate envelope containing your ballot in the outer mailing envelope, which is addressed to the Union County Board of Elections.
  • If someone assisted you in completing your ballot, they must complete the assistor’s portion of the certificate envelope.
  • If someone returns your ballot for you, they must complete the bearer portion of the outer envelope in your presence.
  • Review the instructions above for returning your ballot on time to the Union County Election Board, whether by mail, in the drop box or in person!

For updates and resources, visit:
County Clerk – UnionCountyVotes.com
Board of Elections – ucnj.org/boe

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