The Ocean County Clerk’s Office and the Ocean County Board of Elections are offering extended office hours to registered voters who will not be able to go to the polls on Tuesday, Nov. 6 providing the opportunity to obtain and cast a ballot in person at a one-stop convenient location.
“It’s important every registered voter have the opportunity to cast a ballot during the general election,” said Scott M. Colabella, Ocean County Clerk. “We anticipate that by extending hours at our different sites it will allow some people to vote who might not have been able.”
Starting on Saturday, Nov. 3 through Sunday, Nov. 4, registered voters will be able to apply, obtain and cast their ballot in person at the Ocean County Board of Elections, 129 Hooper Ave., Lower Floor (Basement Level), Toms River. Free parking is available in the Ocean County Parking Garage adjacent to the Board of Elections office. County Clerk/Election Board staff will be available to assist voters from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m. both days.
“By providing weekend hours we can reach those voters who may have to work on Election Day and may not be in the area,” Colabella said. “We have offered this service for several years now and it has worked out well.”
In addition, Southern Ocean County registered voters can visit the Ocean County Southern Service Center at 179 South Main St., Manahawkin from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Tuesday, Oct. 30 through Friday, Nov. 2. County Clerk/Election Board staff will be available to assist voters with in-person ballots.
In addition, registered voters can visit the Ocean County Clerk’s Office at the Ocean County Courthouse, 118 Washington St., Toms River, from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Tuesday, Oct. 30 through Friday, Nov. 2, when County Clerk and Election Board staff will be available to assist voters. Also, on Monday, Nov. 5, the Washington Street office will be open for in-person ballots from 8 a.m. until 3 p.m.
“The Ocean County Clerk and Election Board are working in partnership to give everyone the opportunity to vote,” said Ocean County Freeholder John P. Kelly, who serves as liaison to the County Clerk’s Office. “From weekend hours, use of the Ocean County Southern Service Center and more availability at the Courthouse, every effort is being made to make voting accessible and convenient for those citizens who can’t get to the polls on Election Day.”
The deadline for all applications for Vote by Mail Ballots that are sent through the mail is Tuesday, Oct. 30. After that date, voters must apply in person to obtain a ballot. Voters do not need a reason to obtain a Vote by Mail Ballot. The deadline for obtaining a ballot in person is 3 p.m., Monday, Nov. 5. And, after 3 p.m. Nov. 5, voters must obtain a court order from a Superior Court judge allowing them to apply for a ballot.
As of Oct. 26, the County Clerk’s Office issued 38,479 Vote by Mail Ballots. Four years ago, in the 2014 Midterm Election, 12,540 Vote by Mail ballots were cast. An increase of nearly more than 23,000 ballots. Of the ballots issued, 15,479 have been issued to registered Republicans; 11,175 have been issued to registered Democrats and 11,825 to unaffiliated voters.
“We have issued the highest number of Vote by Mail ballots in Ocean County election history,” Colabella noted. “The number surpasses the previous highest amount which was issued for the 2016 Presidential election.
“A portion of the increase in Vote by Mail ballots can be attributed to the new election law signed by Gov. Murphy and implemented earlier in the fall which mandates that a vote by mail ballot be issued to all those that were issued them in the November 2016 general election,” Colabella said. “Unless a voter notified our office in writing stating they do not want a vote by mail ballot for this election, they received one as part of the new law.
“Voters who opted not to vote the Vote by Mail ballot can go to the polls and vote a provisional ballot on Election Day,” he added.
There are over 400,000 registered voters in Ocean County of which 135,733 are Republicans; 87,022 registered as Democrats and 182,853 are undeclared voters.
More than 400,000 sample ballots are being mailed providing registered voters with a copy of the official ballot that will appear on voting machines on Nov. 6 as well as the polling place location for the 413 County election districts.
A copy of the sample ballot and polling location addresses for all 33 municipalities is also available at www.oceancountyclerk.com, the County Clerk’s web site.
For additional information on Voting in Person registered voters may contact the County Clerk’s Office at (732) 929-2018 or (732) 929-2153.