“Board of Elections,” came the greeting from the other line. “…As you can imagine, we’re very busy right now.”
It’s the afternoon of Oct. 16, and it’s the last couple hours to register to vote in New Jersey for the Nov. 6 midterm elections. According to New Jersey Department of State, Ocean County will be open to accept voter registrations until 9 p.m. The Board of Elections is located at 129 Hooper Ave.
For information, call them at 732-929-2167.
The law governing such deadlines varies by state: in the Garden State, in-person and mail-in registrations must be done 21 days before an election. According to Vote.org, in some places, like Colorado, New Hampshire, and the District of Columbia, you can walk in on election day and register before voting.
Voters have to register 30 days ahead of elections in states Pennsylvania, Tennessee and Rhode Island. (Although they can register on election day in Rhode Island, but only for a presidential election.)
And then in North Dakota, there is no voter registration. A person just shows up with a valid ID, and then casts his or her vote.
In New Jersey, a 17-year-old can register to vote, but can’t actually vote until he or she is 18. The voter registration forms warns would-be voters to not fill out the form if they are not at least 17 years of age, and not a U.S. citizen. They can’t be on parole, or probation, or serving a sentence for a conviction. False or fraudulent registrations come with fines of up to $15,000 and five years in prison, which would then make that person ineligible to vote.
In 2017, there were 400,098 registered voters in Ocean County. Between in-person voting and mail-in and provisional ballots, 40.15 percent of those registered voted in the Nov. 7 general election.
We’ll probably have a better picture of how many new voter registrations, and what party affiliations if declared, have flooded into the county’s board of elections office, once they catch their breath.