WATCH: How to return your mail-in ballot in NJ

There are several ways to return your ballot. If mailing it, you must do so by Nov. 3

How-to:

  • You can mail it back to the county board of elections. The return envelope is postage-paid, so there’s no need to add a stamp;
  • You can drop it into one of at least a dozen secure drop boxes that will be placed around each county. The list is available through our elections page. You can also find them on your county clerk’s website or via the state Division of Election’s Voter Information Portal. Note that you can only place your ballot in a box in your own county, not in a different county, even if that location is closer, because ballots are counted at the county level.
  • You can deliver your ballot in person to your county board of elections office.
  • You can deliver it in person on Election Day to your designated polling location; you should receive a mailing from your county alerting you of this location before the end of October.
  • In addition, someone else can return your ballot for you. But that person, known as a bearer, can only deliver three ballots in addition to their own. The bearer has to fill out the bearer portion of the outer envelope in the presence of the voter. If the bearer hand-delivers the ballots to the county board of elections — as opposed to mailing them or placing them in a drop box — they  must sign the bearer book and show identification, such as a driver’s license. A bearer cannot deliver ballots for others to a polling location on Election Day. On that day, each voter must bring their own.

Deadline for returning your ballot

If mailing your ballot, you must do so by Nov. 3. There is a risk to waiting that long, however. Ballots received through Nov. 10 will be counted — provided they were mailed by the 3rd — but if the Postal Service does not get your ballot to the county board of elections by then, your vote won’t count. Thousands of ballots in New Jersey’s July 7 primary were rejected because they were not received within seven days after that election.

For all other delivery methods — in person to a polling location or to the board of elections or deposited into a secure drop box — the ballot must be delivered by the 8 p.m. close of polls on Election Day.

For more on how to vote and the issues New Jersey voters are deciding this election, visit the NJ Spotlight News elections portal.