WATCH: How ballots in NJ are being counted in 2020 election

Paper ballots take longer to count, so be prepared to settle in

In New Jersey, almost everyone will be voting by paper ballot and those take longer to count. A new state law allows counties to start counting mail-in ballots that were returned early 10 days before Election Day.

Mail-in ballots will be counted first and these results will begin to be posted by counties on election night. Counting of mail-in ballots will continue for the next week as those received through Nov. 10 will be counted provided they were mailed by Election Day, Nov. 3.

While officials are counting the mail-in ballots, if they come across any problems with a ballot — say, a voter forgot to sign a certificate, or forgot to enclose the certificate attached to the envelope — they are required to alert the voter within 48 hours and officials will send out a “cure” letter. If a voter signs the cure letter attesting that they did indeed submit the ballot and returned it to the county within the required time, the ballot will be counted.

You can check whether your vote was counted at the state Division of Elections website. You need to sign up for this service before you can use it. It is easiest to sign up with your voter ID, which will be printed on your mail-in ballot, but you can also do so with information from your driver’s license.

Once the mail-in ballot count is completed, officials will begin to count the provisional ballots. These cannot be counted until all the mail-in ballots are counted because officials need to ensure that a person is not voting twice.

While it took a month for the state to post the results from New Jersey’s July primary, county clerks must submit all general election results to the state no later than Nov. 23.

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