Are you registered to vote this year?
The national conventions this week and next are a good reminder to check if you are registered to vote in November. The deadline is Oct. 16, or 21 days before the Nov. 6 general election.
West Orange Municipal Clerk Karen Carnevale said a lot parents have come to the town hall already to pick up voter registration forms and applications to vote by mail for their college kids.
“I just think [those college students] aren’t going to be around,” during the election, said Carnevale. “I like vote by mail; it comes right to the house .... It is so convenient and it’s great for the seniors.”
Patty DeFinis, who works in the municipal clerk’s office, said she remembered registering a lot of college students in 2008 and expects it to happen again this year.
DeFinis said what people sometimes forget, however, is that you have to be registered to vote before you send in that application to vote by mail.
“If you are not registered, don’t mail in that ballot yet,” warned DeFinis.
Carnevale also mentioned a little known fact about new voters. Those who will be turning 18 years old after the Oct. 16 deadline to register but before the election can still register to vote. As long as the person is 18 years old at the time of the election, they can cast a vote.
There are many ways to register to vote in West Orange. Stop by the municipal clerk’s office at , 66 Main St., Monday through Friday between 8:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. to pick up a voter registration form and/or an application to vote by mail.
The application to vote by mail is easy, said Carnevale. Fill out the application and send it to the county clerk’s office in Newark. Then the county clerk’s office will send a mail-in ballot to wherever the registered voter is within about seven days. If a resident is away at college, he or she can get the mail-in ballot sent to a college address.
The deadline to mail in your vote is Oct. 30. After that, applications can still be hand delivered to the Essex County Clerk’s Office.
Click here for a application to vote by mail or find one in the photo gallery of this story.
Voters can also cast their ballots early in person at the county clerk’s office starting the first week in October.
And for those that like to wait until the last minute, the municipal clerk’s office holds late office hours for voter registration near or on the Oct. 16 deadline. The time and date has yet to be announced.
Similar to previous presidential elections, Carnevale said she expects more people to register and call with questions as Nov. 6 draws near.
“With the general election and the presidential election, we are going to have people calling and coming in,” said Carnevale. “Right now it is vacation time, so it is very quiet, but once September hits, I’m sure it’s going to pick up. ... We are going to have a lot of people.”
Can’t stop by town hall? Call the clerk’s office, at (973) 325-4155, and you can get a voter registration form mailed to you.
A registration form can be found on the township’s website by clicking here, or found in the photo gallery of this story.
Questions about voting? Visit www.njelections.org or call 1 (877) 658-6837.