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Lt. Governor
Kim Guadagno
On November 3, 2009, the people of New Jersey elected Kim Guadagno as the first Lieutenant Governor in the state's history.
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New Jersey Department of State
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Division of Elections

In January 2014, Governor Christie signed into law P.L. 2013, c. 259. Pursuant to that statute the Department of State provides the following Laws and Regulations as a service to our users.  The Laws and Regulations displayed here have been copied from:

Please refer to the above links for the most recent changes.

NJSA Title 19 - Elections 19:60-1 - 19:63-28
NJSA 19:60-1 School elections, adjustments, ballots

1. a. Except as otherwise provided in this section, an annual school election shall be held in a type II district on the third Tuesday in April. However, in any school year, the Commissioner of Education shall make any adjustments to the school budget and election calendar which may be necessary to change the annual school election date or any other school budget and election calendar date if that date coincides with a period of religious observance that limits significantly the usual activities of the followers of a particular religion or that would result in significant religious consequences for such followers. The commissioner shall inform local school boards, county clerks and boards of elections of these adjustments no later than the first working day in January of the year in which the adjustments are to occur.

As used in this subsection "a period of religious observance" means any day or portion thereof on which a religious observance imposes a substantial burden on an individual's ability to vote.

An annual school election shall be held simultaneously with the general election on the first Tuesday after the first Monday in November in school districts in which the annual school election has been moved to that date pursuant to subsection a. of section 1 of P.L.2011, c.202 (C.19:60-1.1) or pursuant to section 1 of P.L.2012, c.78 (C.19:60-1.2). The annual school election in November shall be for the purpose of submitting a proposal to the voters for the approval of additional funds in a type II district without a board of school estimate pursuant to paragraph (9) of subsection d. of section 5 of P.L.1996, c.138 (C.18A:7F-5), for the purpose of electing members of the board of education, and for any other purpose authorized by law.

b. All school elections shall be by ballot and, except as otherwise provided by P.L.1995, c.278 (C.19:60-1 et al.), shall be conducted in the manner provided for general elections pursuant to Title 19 of the Revised Statutes. No grouping of candidates or party designation shall appear on any ballot to be used in a school election.

L.1995, c.278, s.1; amended 2003, c.20; 2008, c.129, s.1; 2011, c.202, s.33; 2012, c.78, s.5.

NJSA 19:60-1.1 Procedure for moving the date of school elections

1. a. (1) The question of moving the date of a school district's annual school election to the first Tuesday after the first Monday in November, to be held simultaneously with the general election, shall be submitted to the legal voters of a local or regional school district, other than a Type II district with a board of school estimate, whenever a petition signed by not less than 15% of the number of legally qualified voters who voted in the district at the last preceding general election held for the election of electors for President and Vice-President of the United States is filed with the board of education. The question shall be submitted to the voters of the district at the next general election, provided that at least 60 days have lapsed since the date of the filing of the petition. In the event that the question is not approved by the voters, no petition may be filed to submit the question to the voters within one year after an election shall have been held pursuant to any petition filed pursuant to this subsection.

The date of the annual school election may be moved to the first Tuesday after the first Monday in November without voter approval, upon the adoption of a resolution by the board of education of a local or regional school district, other than a Type II district with a board of school estimate, or the governing body or bodies of the municipality or municipalities constituting the district. Prior to holding a meeting for the adoption of the resolution to move the date of the annual school election, the governing body or bodies of the municipality or municipalities constituting the district shall provide adequate notice of the meeting to the affected board or boards of education.

(2) In the event that the date of a school district's annual school election is moved to the day of the general election, the annual school election in November shall be held for the purpose of submitting a proposal to the voters for approval of additional funds pursuant to paragraph (9) of subsection d. of section 5 of P.L.1996, c.138 (C.18A:7F-5), for the purpose of electing members of the board of education, and for any other purpose authorized by law. A vote shall not be required on the district's general fund tax levy for the budget year, other than the general fund tax levy required to support a proposal for additional funds.

(3) In addition to the process set forth in paragraph (1) of this subsection, in the event that all the constituent districts of a limited purpose regional school district approve moving the date of their annual school elections to November, by any of the procedures established pursuant to this subsection, then the annual school election for the limited purpose regional school district shall also be conducted simultaneously with the general election.

(4) In the event that the date of a school district's annual school election is moved to the day of the general election pursuant to this subsection, the board of education and the county board of elections shall enter into an agreement, pursuant to guidelines established by the Secretary of State, under which the board of education shall pay any agreed upon increase in the costs, charges, and expenses that may be associated with holding the school election simultaneously with the general election.

b. (1) In the case of a school district that has moved the date of its annual school election to November pursuant to subsection a. of this section, the question of moving the date of the school district's annual school election to the third Tuesday in April shall be submitted to the legal voters of a local or regional school district, other than a Type II district with a board of school estimate, whenever a petition signed by not less than 15% of the number of legally qualified voters who voted in the district at the last preceding general election held for the election of electors for President and Vice-President of the United States is filed with the board of education. The question shall be submitted to the voters of the district at the next general election, provided that at least 60 days have lapsed since the date of the filing of the petition.

The date of the annual school election may be moved to the third Tuesday in April without voter approval, upon the adoption of a resolution by the board of education of a local or regional school district, other than a Type II district with a board of school estimate, or the governing body or bodies of the municipality or municipalities constituting the district. Prior to holding a meeting for the adoption of the resolution to move the date of the annual school election, the governing body or bodies of the municipality or municipalities constituting the district shall provide adequate notice of the meeting to the affected board or boards of education.

No resolution may be adopted and no petition may be filed pursuant to this subsection until at least four annual school elections have been held in November.
(2) In the event that the date of the annual school election is moved to the third Tuesday in April, a vote shall be held on the district's general fund tax levy for the budget year including any proposal for additional funds pursuant to paragraph (9) of subsection d. of section 5 of P.L.1996, c.138 (C.18A:7F-5), the election of members of the board of education, and for any other purpose authorized by law.

(3) In addition to the process set forth in paragraph (1) of this subsection, in the event that all the constituent districts of a limited purpose regional school district approve moving the date of their annual school elections to the third Tuesday in April, by any of the procedures established pursuant to this subsection, then the annual school election for the limited purpose regional school district shall also be conducted on the third Tuesday in April.

c. Notice, in writing, to change the date of a school election from the third Tuesday in April to the first Tuesday in November shall be given to the county clerk no less than 60 days prior to the third Tuesday in April to take effect for that year's election. For a change from the first Tuesday in November to the third Tuesday in April, notice must be given to the county clerk no less than 85 days prior to the third Tuesday in April to take effect for that year's election. Timely notice shall also be given by the board of education or municipal governing body adopting such resolution to any other affected boards of education and municipal governing bodies.

L.2011, c.202, s.1; amended 2012, c.78, s.8; 2013, c.172, s.5.

NJSA 19:60-1.2 Moving date of certain school district annual school election

1. a. Notwithstanding any other law or regulation to the contrary, a Type II district with a board of school estimate may move the date of the school district's annual school election pursuant to the provisions of section 1 of P.L.2011, c.202 (C.19:60-1.1).

b. Notwithstanding any other law or regulation to the contrary, in the event that the date of the annual school election is moved to the day of the general election in a Type II district with a board of school estimate, the election shall be held for the purpose of electing members of the board of education and for any other purpose authorized by law. The board of school estimate shall not determine the district's general fund tax levy for the budget year, other than the general fund tax levy required to support a proposal for additional funds pursuant to paragraph (9) of subsection d. of section 5 of P.L.1996, c.138 (C.18A:7F-5).

c. Notwithstanding any other law or regulation to the contrary, in a Type II district with a board of school estimate that has moved the date of its annual school election to November and subsequently moves the annual school election to the third Tuesday in April, a vote shall be held for the purpose of electing members of the board of education and for any other purpose authorized by law. The board of school estimate shall determine the district's general fund tax levy for the budget year, including any proposal for additional funds pursuant to paragraph (9) of subsection d. of section 5 of P.L.1996, c.138 (C.18A:7F-5).

L.2012, c.78, s.1.

NJSA 19:60-2 Special elections; days, certain, changes; notice

2. a. Except as otherwise provided pursuant to subsection c. of this section, the board of education of a type II district may call a special election of the legal voters of the district on only the fourth Tuesday in January, the second Tuesday in March, the last Tuesday in September, or the second Tuesday in December when in its judgment the interests of the schools require such an election. The board of education shall give the municipal clerk or clerks, as the case may be, and the county board of elections no less than 60 days' notice, in writing, of its intention to hold a special election.

b. No business shall be transacted at any special election except such as shall have been set forth in the notices by which the election was called.

c. The Commissioner of Education may change in any school year any date authorized for a special school election pursuant to subsection a. of this section if that date coincides with a period of religious observance that limits significantly the usual activities of the followers of a particular religion or that would result in significant religious consequences for such followers. The commissioner shall inform local school boards, county clerks, and boards of election of the adjustment no later than the first working day in January of the year in which the adjustments are to occur.
As used in this section "a period of religious observance" means any day or portion thereof on which a religious observance imposes a substantial burden on an individual's ability to vote.

L.1995, c.278, s.2; amended 2001, c.98; 2005, c.136, s.60; 2007, c.61, s.15; 2008, c.129, s.2; 2011, c.134, s.48.

NJSA 19:60-3 District board members to perform election duties; designation of polling place, voting equipment

3. a. Notwithstanding the provisions of R.S.19:6-1, for school elections held at times other than at the time of the general election the county board of the county in which the election district is located shall designate two members of the district board of election to perform all the duties of the district board for that election, except that where electronic voting systems are in use in any election district in which there are more than 900 registered voters, the county board shall designate four members of the district board to perform all the duties of the district board for that election. Notwithstanding the provisions of R.S.19:6-10, the county board shall appoint one of the persons so designated to serve as judge and the other or another, as the case may be, of those persons so designated to serve as inspector for school elections.

b. Notwithstanding the provisions of subsection a. or any other law to the contrary:

(1) Upon the request of a board of education or the clerk of a municipality in the county or upon its own initiative, the county board may designate the polling place and voting equipment of one election district to serve as the polling place and voting equipment for the voters of one or more other election districts for school elections held at times other than at the time of the general election. Such a designation shall be based on the casting of no more than 500 ballots during each of the two preceding annual April school elections by the voters of the election districts for which that polling place is designated. If, at two consecutive annual April school elections thereafter, the number of ballots cast by the voters in those election districts is more than 500, the county board shall effect an appropriate revision of the election districts using that polling place. If a request is from a municipal clerk, the request shall apply only to the election districts in that municipality.

(2) If one polling place is designated for two or more election districts, the county board shall designate at least two members from among the members of the district boards of election of those election districts to perform all the duties of the district board for the school election held at times other than at the time of the general election. The county board shall also appoint one of the persons so designated to serve as judge and another of those persons to serve as inspector for school elections.

L.1995, c.278, s.3; amended 1996, c.3, s.1; 2011, c.202, s.34.

NJSA 19:60-4 Submission of public questions

4. The secretary of each board of education shall, not later than 10 o'clock a.m. of the 18th day preceding the annual April school election or a special school election, make and certify and forward to the clerk of the county in which the school district is located a statement designating the public question to be voted upon by the voters of the district which may be required pursuant to the provisions of P.L.1995, c.278 (C.19:60-1 et al.) or Title 18A of the New Jersey Statutes.

The secretary of each board of education of a school district in which the annual school election has been moved to November pursuant to subsection a. of section 1 of P.L.2011, c.202 (C.19:60-1.1), not later than 10 o'clock a.m. of the 60th day preceding the November school election, shall make and certify and forward to the clerk of the county in which the school district is located a statement designating any public question to be voted upon by the voters of the district which may be required pursuant to the provisions of P.L.1995, c.278 (C.19:60-1 et al.) or Title 18A of the New Jersey Statutes.

L.1995, c.278, s.4; amended 2011, c.37, s.27; 2011, c.202, s.35.

NJSA 19:60-5 Petition of nomination; contents

5.Notwithstanding the provisions of R.S.19:13-4, each nominating petition for a candidate to be voted upon at a school election shall be addressed to the secretary of the board of education and therein shall be set forth:
a. A statement that the signers of the petition are all qualified voters of the school district or, in the case of a regional school district, qualified voters of the constituent district which the candidate shall represent on the board of education of the regional district;
b. The name, residence and post office address of the person endorsed and the office for which he is endorsed;

c. That the signers of the petition endorse the candidate named in the petition for that office and request that the person's name be printed upon the official ballot to be used at the ensuing election; and

d. That the person so endorsed is legally qualified to be elected to the office.

A candidate shall be permitted to sign or circulate, or both sign and circulate, the petition required to nominate that candidate for membership on the board.

Any form of a petition of nomination hereunder which is provided to candidates in a school election shall contain the following notice: "Notice: All candidates are required by law to comply with the provisions of 'The New Jersey Campaign Contributions and Expenditures Reporting Act.' For further information, please call (insert phone number of the Election Law Enforcement Commission)."

L.1995, c.278, s.5; amended 2010, c.68, s.5.

NJSA 19:60-6. Certificate accompanying nominating petition

6.Accompanying the nominating petition and to be filed therewith, there shall be a certificate signed by the person endorsed in the petition stating that:

a. The person is qualified to be elected to the office for which the person is nominated, including a specific affirmation that the person is not disqualified as a voter pursuant to R.S.19:4-1;

b. The person consents to stand as a candidate for election; and

c. If elected, the person agrees to accept and qualify into that office.

L.1995,c.278,s.6.

NJSA 19:60-7 Nomination procedures; withdrawal, vacancy; objections

7.Each candidate to be voted upon at a school election shall be nominated directly by petition, and the procedures for such nomination shall, to the extent not inconsistent with the provisions of P.L.1995, c.278 (C.19:60-1 et al.), conform to the procedure for nominating candidates by direct petition under chapter 13 of Title 19 of the Revised Statutes. Notwithstanding the provisions of R.S.19:13-5, however, a petition of nomination for such office shall be signed by at least 10 persons, one of whom may be the candidate, and filed with the secretary of the board of education on or before four p.m. of the 50th day preceding the date of the April school election or with the county clerk on or before four p.m. of the last Monday in July preceding the November school election, as applicable. The signatures need not all appear upon a single petition and any number of petitions may be filed on behalf of any candidate but no petition shall contain the endorsement of more than one candidate.

Any candidate may withdraw as a candidate in a school election by filing a notice in writing, signed by the candidate, of such withdrawal with the secretary of the board of education before the 44th day before the date of the April election or with the county clerk on the 60th day before the date of the November election, as applicable, and thereupon the name of that candidate shall be withdrawn by the secretary of the board of education and shall not be printed on the ballot.

A vacancy created by a declination of nomination or withdrawal by, or death of, a nominee, or in any other manner, shall be filled under the provisions of R.S.19:13-19.

Whenever written objection to a petition of nomination hereunder shall have been made and timely filed with the secretary of the board of education or with the county clerk, as may be appropriate, the board of education shall file its determination of the objection on or before the 44th day preceding the April school election or the county clerk shall file the clerk's determination of the objection on or before the 10th day after the last day for the filing of petitions for candidates seeking election as a member of a board of education at the November school election, as applicable. The last day upon which a candidate may file with the Superior Court a verified complaint setting forth any invasion or threatened invasion of the candidate's rights under the candidate's petition of nomination shall be the 46th day before the April election or the 12th day after the last day for the filing of petitions for candidates seeking election as a member of a board of education at the November election, as applicable. The last day upon which a candidate whose petition of nomination or any affidavit thereto is defective may amend such petition or affidavit shall be the 44th day before the April election or the 10th day after the last day for the filing of petitions for candidates seeking election as a member of a board of education at the November election, as applicable.

In each school district in which candidates for the office of member of a board of education will seek election at the November school election, the school business administrator thereof shall certify to the county clerk no later than the day of the holding of the primary election for the general election next occurring a statement designating the public offices to be filled at such election, and the number of such offices to be filled.

L.1995, c.278, s.7; amended 2000, c.22; 2011, c.202, s.36; 2013, c.172, s.1.

NJSA 19:60-8 Positions on ballot determined by drawing

8.The county clerk shall conduct the ballot draw for candidates for school board member in those school districts that hold November elections, in accordance with the procedures set forth in R.S.19:14-12. In those school districts that elect school board members at the annual April school election, the ballot draw shall be conducted as follows:

a. The drawing shall be done by the secretary of the board of education seven working days following the last day for filing a petition for the nomination of such a candidate. The person making the drawing shall make public announcement at the drawing of each name, the order in which the name is drawn and the term of office for which the drawing is made.

b. A separate drawing shall be made for each full term and for each unexpired term, respectively. The names of the several candidates for whom petitions have been filed for each of the terms shall be written upon paper slips which shall be placed in capsules of the same size, shape, color and substance and then placed in a covered box with an aperture in the top large enough to admit a person's hand and to allow the capsules to be drawn therefrom. The box shall be turned and shaken thoroughly to mix the capsules and the capsules shall be withdrawn one at a time.

c. Where there is more than one person to be elected for a given term of office, the position of the names on the ballots for each term of office shall be determined as above described. The name of the candidate for each term of office first drawn from the box shall be printed directly below the proper term for which the person was nominated and the name of the candidate next drawn shall be printed next in order, and so on, until the last name shall be drawn from the box.

The secretary of the board of education shall, within two days following the drawing, certify to the county clerk the results of the drawing.

L.1995, c.278, s.8; amended 2012, c.78, s.7.

NJSA 19:60-9 Ballot, form, contents

9.The ballot for a school election shall be a single or blanket form of ballot, upon which shall be printed in bold-faced type the words "OFFICIAL SCHOOL ELECTION BALLOT" or "OFFICIAL SPECIAL SCHOOL ELECTION BALLOT," as appropriate.

Any public question which is to be submitted to the voters at a school election shall be printed in a separate space below or to the right of, as the county clerk shall determine, the listing of candidates in the election.

In the columns in which are listed the titles of the offices to be filled at a school election and the names of candidates for those offices, the title of and the names of candidates for the office of member of the regional board of education shall appear above the title of and the names of candidates for the office of member of the local board of education. With respect to either office, in the event that one or more persons are to be elected to membership thereon for a full term and one or more persons are to be elected to membership thereon to fill an unexpired term, the ballots shall designate which of the candidates to be voted for is to be elected for a full term and which for an unexpired term. In all cases in which one or more persons are to be elected for an unexpired term, the ballots shall indicate the duration of that unexpired term.

All public questions to be voted upon at a school election by the voters of more than one municipality shall be placed first before any question to be voted upon at that election by the voters of a single municipality. When the public question to be voted upon by the voters of a regional school district is the amount of money to be raised for the use of the regional schools of the district, the amount of money determined to be the constituent municipality's share thereof may be identified on the ballot pursuant to N.J.S.18A:13-17.

Every county clerk shall have ready for the printer a copy of the contents of official ballots required by law to be printed for use at a school election, as follows: in the case of the annual April school election, not later than the 17th day preceding that election; in the case of any special school election, not later than two business days following receipt by the clerk of official notice of the complete content of the ballot to be voted upon at that election; and in the case of the annual November school election, in accordance with the provisions of R.S.19:14-1.

The ballots for an annual school election to be held simultaneously with the general election shall be in accordance with the provisions of chapter 14 of Title 19 of the Revised Statutes.

At an annual school election held simultaneously with the general election, the names of the candidates for the office of member of the board of education shall appear on the ballot separately from the names of candidates for other offices whenever possible. Any proposals for additional funds pursuant to paragraph (9) of subsection d. of section 5 of P.L.1996, c.138 (C.18A:7F-5) shall appear on the ballot near the names of the candidates for the office of member of the board of education whenever possible.

L.1995, c.278, s.9; amended 2001, c.26, s.2; 2011, c.202, s.37.

NJSA 19:60-10. Printing of sample ballots

10. The county clerk shall cause samples of the official school election ballot to be printed in the same manner as prescribed for the printing of sample ballots for the general election by R.S.19:14-21. In counties not having a superintendent of elections where the county board of elections does not have the equipment or facilities to address and mail sample ballot envelopes, the delivery of such sample ballots for mailing, issuance of a receipt for such delivery, and the mailing of sample ballots shall be effected in the same manner as prescribed for the sample ballot for the general election under subsection a. of R.S.19:14-21; and in counties having a superintendent of elections and in other counties where the county board of elections may have such equipment or facilities, the delivery of ballots for mailing, issuance of a receipt for such delivery, and the mailing of sample ballots shall be effected in the same manner as prescribed for the sample ballot for the general election under subsection b. of R.S.19:14-21 , subject to the condition that the latest time at which the county clerk may furnish sample ballots for mailing shall be the eighth day preceding the school election.

L.1995,c.278,s.10.

NJSA 19:60-10.1 Information sent to newly-registered voters for school election

3. Notwithstanding the provisions of any other law to the contrary, a voter who registers after the 29th day prior to a school election and who is eligible to participate in that election may be sent, instead of a sample ballot, notice of the voter's polling place, information on where to obtain a sample ballot prior to the election, a statement indicating that a sample ballot will be available at the polling place on the day of the election, and, if applicable, information on a county website where a sample ballot may be viewed.

L.2005,c.139,s.3.

NJSA 19:60-11 Use of poll list in lieu of signature copy register

11. The district board of election shall, for any school election held at a time other than the time of the general election, utilize a poll list instead of the signature copy register. The poll list shall be arranged in a column or columns appropriately headed so as to indicate the election, the date thereof, and the school district and election district in which the same is used, in such a manner that each voter voting in the polling place at the election may sign the voter's name and state the voter's address therein and the number of the voter's official ballot may be indicated opposite the signature. The district board shall compare the signature in the poll lists with that in the signature copy registers before accepting the ballot.

If one polling place is designated for two or more election districts pursuant to subsection b. of section 3 of P.L.1995, c.278 (C.19:60-3), the provisions of this section shall apply to the members of the district boards of election designated to serve as the election officers at the polling place for those election districts. The signature copy registers for those election districts shall be provided to those election officers.

L.1995, c.278, s.11; amended 1996, c.3, s.2; 2011, c.202, s.38.

NJSA 19:60-12 Expenses; mandated expenditures

12. All costs, charges and expenses, including the compensation of the members of the district boards and the compensation and expenses of the county board of elections, the county superintendent of elections, the clerk of the county, and the municipal clerks for any school election held at a time other than the time of the general election shall be paid by the board of education of the school district. All costs, charges and expenses submitted to the board of education for payment shall be itemized and shall include the separate identification of costs to prepare, print and distribute sample ballots. Amounts expended by a county or a municipality in the conduct of school elections for which the board of education shall make payment shall be considered mandated expenditures exempt from the limitations on the county tax levy and from the limitations on final municipal appropriations imposed pursuant to P.L.1976, c.68 (C.40A:4-45.1 et seq.), and any costs to the board of education which exceed the amount of the costs to that board for the annual school election immediately preceding the enactment of P.L.1995, c.278 (C.19:60-1 et seq.) shall not be included for the purpose of calculating a school district's tax levy growth limitation pursuant to P.L.2007, c.62 (C.18A:7F-37 et al.).

L.1995, c.278, s.12; amended 1996, c.3, s.3; 2011, c.202, s.39.

NJSA 19:61-1 Findings, declarations relative to elections

1. The Legislature finds and declares:

a. The "Help America Vote Act of 2002," Pub.L.107-252, was enacted by Congress and signed into law by President Bush on October 29, 2002.

b. The new federal law, based upon recommendations by several national study commissions including the National Commission on Federal Election Reform, resulted from a consensus that the nation's electoral system needs improvements to ensure that every eligible voter has the opportunity to vote, that every vote will be counted that should be counted, and that no legal vote will be canceled by a fraudulent vote.

c. Accordingly, the "Help America Vote Act of 2002" authorizes substantial amounts of federal aid to the states to fund the purchase of more reliable voting systems, and mandates changes in the conduct of federal elections in all states to ensure greater access to the polls by individuals with disabilities, to provide more information for individuals who wish to vote and better training of poll workers, and to reduce the possibility of fraud.

d. The "Help America Vote Act of 2002" also clearly defines the rights and privileges of those eligible individuals who seek to vote, including all overseas and military service voters, and seeks to prevent disenfranchisement due to mistaken determinations of ineligibility to vote, the use of outdated voting systems that are unreliable or insufficiently accessible for disabled voters, or unnecessary administrative obstacles.

e. The purpose of P.L.2004, c.88 (C.19:61-1 et al.) is to begin the process of implementing the changes in New Jersey's election law required by the "Help America Vote Act of 2002" to accomplish the purposes described above, providing a fair, deliberative and consensus-oriented process for enacting election reform required by the federal law, and ensure the timely fulfillment by this State of all requirements for eligibility to receive appropriated federal funds.

L.2004,c.88,s.1.

NJSA 19:61-2 Short title

2. This act shall be known and may be cited as "The Voting Opportunity and Technology Enhancement Act."

L.2004,c.88,s.2.

NJSA 19:61-3 Federal Elections Assistance Fund

3. There is hereby established in the Department of the Treasury a special, nonlapsing fund to be known as the Federal Elections Assistance Fund.

The fund is established in accordance with paragraph (b) of section 254 of Pub.L.107-252, (42 U.S.C.15404) for the purpose of receiving:

a. all moneys appropriated or otherwise made available by the State for the purpose of carrying out the activities required by Pub.L.107-252;

b. all payments which will be received from the federal government pursuant to Pub.L.107-252;

c. interest earned on deposits made in the fund; and

d. such other additional amounts as may be appropriated under federal or State law.

The State Treasurer is authorized to transfer into the fund in a timely manner such State moneys as will be necessary to insure that the State qualifies for the maximum amount of federal funds appropriated to implement Pub.L.107-252.

L.2004,c.88,s.3.

NJSA 19:61-4 Free-access system for information to voters using provisional ballot

4. The Attorney General shall establish a free-access system, such as a toll-free telephone number, an Internet website or any combination thereof, that any individual who casts a provisional ballot may access to ascertain whether the ballot of that individual was accepted for counting and, if the vote was not counted, the reason for the rejection of the ballot. The system shall at all times preserve the confidentiality of each voter, and shall ensure that no person, other than the individual who cast the ballot, may discover whether or not that individual's ballot was accepted, unless so informed by the voter.

L.2004,c.88,s.4.

NJSA 19:61-5 Free-access system for information to voters using mail-in, overseas ballots

5. The Secretary of State shall establish a free-access system, such as a toll-free telephone number, an Internet website or any combination thereof, that any individual who casts a mail-in ballot or an overseas ballot in a federal election may access to ascertain: (1) whether an application for a mail-in ballot or an overseas ballot has been approved and if not, the reason for its rejection; and (2) whether the mail-in ballot or overseas ballot was received and accepted for counting and, if the ballot was not counted, the reason for the rejection of the ballot. The system shall at all times preserve the confidentiality of each person who has requested an application to vote by mail-in ballot or overseas ballot, or who has voted by mail-in ballot or overseas ballot, and shall ensure that no person, other than the individual who requested or cast the ballot, may discover whether or not that individual's application or ballot was received and accepted, unless so informed by the voter. This system may be the same one used for provisional ballots, established pursuant to section 4 of P.L.2004, c.88 (C.19:61-4).

L.2004, c.88, s.5; amended 2009, c.79, s.35; 2011, c.37, s.28.

NJSA 19:61-6 Filing of complaint, procedure in Division of Elections, alternative procedure

6. a. After January 1, 2004, any individual who believes that there is, has been, or will be a violation of any provision of Title III of Pub.L.107-252 (42 U.S.C. 15481 et seq.) may, pursuant to the procedures set forth in this section established in compliance with the provisions of section 402 of P.L.107-252 (42 U.S.C. 15512), file a complaint with the Division of Elections in the Department of Law and Public Safety seeking appropriate relief with respect to the violation.

b. Each such complaint shall be in writing, and shall be notarized, signed, and sworn by the individual filing the complaint. The Attorney General may consolidate all such complaints if the Attorney General deems it appropriate.

c. (1) If, upon administrative inquiry, the Attorney General determines that there is, has been, or will be a violation of any provision of Title III of Pub.L.107-252 (42 U.S.C. 15481 et seq.), the Attorney General shall order appropriate relief. The complainant may request a hearing on the record, to be conducted in the manner provided for contested cases pursuant to the "Administrative Procedure Act," P.L.1968, c.410 (C.52:14B-1 et seq.); otherwise, the order of the Attorney General shall constitute final agency action on the matter and shall be subject to judicial review as provided in the Rules of Court.

(2) If, upon administrative inquiry, the Attorney General determines that there has been, is or will be no violation of any provision of Title III of Pub.L.107-252 (42 U.S.C.15481 et seq.), the Attorney General shall reject the claim of the violation and shall so notify the complainant. In that case, the complainant shall be afforded the opportunity for a hearing on the record in the manner provided for contested cases pursuant to the "Administrative Procedure Act," P.L.1968, c.410 (C.52:14B-1 et seq.). Intervention in this hearing by any other person shall be as provided in the "Administrative Procedure Act." After review of the record of the hearing and the recommendation of the administrative law judge, the Attorney General shall affirm, reject or modify the decision. If, after a hearing, the Attorney General determines that there has been, is or will be a violation of any provision of Title III of Pub.L.107-252 (42 U.S.C. 15481 et seq.), the Attorney General shall order appropriate relief. If the complainant does not request a hearing following a determination of no violation based upon administrative inquiry or if the Attorney General determines after a hearing that there has been, is or will be no violation of any provision of Title III of Pub.L.107-252 (42 U.S.C. 15481 et seq.), the Attorney General shall dismiss the complaint and publish the results of the procedures. The decision of the Attorney General shall constitute final agency action on the matter, and shall be subject to judicial review as provided in the Rules of Court.

d. All complaints filed under this section shall be resolved finally by the Attorney General prior to the 90th day after the date that the complaint was filed, unless the complainant consents to a longer period for making such a determination.

e. If the Attorney General fails to meet the 90-day deadline provided in subsection d. of this section, the complaint shall be resolved within 60 days of that deadline under alternative dispute resolution procedures established by the Attorney General for the purpose of this section. The record and other materials from any proceedings conducted under the complaint procedures established under this section shall be made available for use under the alternative dispute resolution procedures.

f. All of the procedures provided for by this section shall be applied uniformly and not in a manner that discriminates in any way against an individual based on that individual's gender, race, religion, ethnicity or sexual orientation.

g. An individual who believes that there is, or has been, or will be a violation of any provision of Title III of Pub.L.107-252 (42 U.S.C. 15481 et seq.) may, as an alternative to the procedures prescribed in subsections a. through f. of this section, file a complaint in the appropriate Superior Court seeking appropriate relief with respect to the violation. The complaint shall be resolved in an expedited manner.

L.2004,c.88,s.6.

NJSA 19:61-7 Report on certain absentee ballots in federal elections

7. No later than the 90th day following the day of each regularly scheduled general election of candidates for federal office, each county board of elections shall submit to the Secretary of State for transmittal to the Election Assistance Commission, established pursuant to section 201 of Pub.L.107-252 (42 U.S.C. s.15321), a report on the combined number of absentee ballots transmitted to military service voters and overseas voters and the combined number of such ballots which were returned by such voters, judged to be valid, cast and canvassed. The report shall be in the format developed by the commission. The Secretary of State shall make copies of each such report available to the general public.

L.2004, c.88, s.7; amended 2008, c.61, s.19.

NJSA 19:61-8 Reports on implementation of "Help America Vote Act of 2002"

8. The Attorney General shall issue a report on the progress of the implementation of the federal "Help America Vote Act of 2002," Pub.L.107-252 (116 Stat 1666) in the State to the Governor, the Senate President, Senate Minority Leader, Speaker of the General Assembly, and Assembly Minority Leader. The report shall be issued quarterly in the first year, with the first report due on July 1, 2004, and shall be issued biennially thereafter.

L.2004,c.88,s.8.

NJSA 19:61-9 Audits of election results

1. a. Notwithstanding any law, rule or regulation to the contrary, the Attorney General shall appoint each year an independent, professional audit team. It shall oversee, in each county, random hand-to-eye counts of the voter-verifiable paper records that are to be conducted by appropriate county election officials. Audits shall be conducted for each election held for federal or State office, including the offices of Governor, Lieutenant Governor and member of the Legislature, and for county and municipal offices selected by the Attorney General. In each county, the audit shall be conducted in at least two percent of the election districts in which each audited election appears on the ballot. County and municipal elections held in fewer than 100 election districts are exempt from this requirement. Election districts that are randomly selected for auditing for either the Congressional or State legislative elections in alternating years may be used to audit any other election that appears on the ballot in such districts. Ballot batches, as provided for in subsection c. of this section, shall also be audited subject to the provisions of this section.

b. The membership and composition of the audit team shall be at the discretion of the Attorney General but shall be not less than four, and at least one member shall have verifiable expertise in the field of statistics and another member shall have verifiable expertise in the field of auditing. No member of the audit team shall include any person who:

(1) is serving in any position on any political campaign committee of any candidate for political office in the elections that are subject to the manual audit;

(2) is an employee of, or reports to, the Attorney General; or

(3) is serving as an officer or an employee of any entity that designs, manufactures, or services a voting system used in the State.

c. The independent audit team shall oversee, supervise, and require county election officials to conduct an audit of the results of an election in accordance with the following procedures:

(1) Any procedure designed, adopted, and implemented by the audit team shall be implemented to ensure with at least 99% statistical power that for each federal, gubernatorial or other Statewide election held in the State, a 100% manual recount of the voter-verifiable paper records would not alter the electoral outcome reported by the audit. For each election held for State office, other than Governor and Lieutenant Governor, and for county and municipal elections held in 100 or more election districts, any procedure designed, adopted, and implemented by the audit team shall be implemented to ensure with at least 90% statistical power that a 100% manual recount of the voter-verifiable paper records would not alter the electoral outcome reported by the audit. Such procedures designed, adopted, and implemented by the audit team to achieve statistical power shall be based upon scientifically reasonable assumptions, with respect to each audited election, including but not limited to: the possibility that within any election district up to 20% of the total votes cast may have been counted for a candidate or ballot position other than the one intended by the voters; and that the number of votes cast per election district will vary. Such procedures and assumptions shall be published prior to any given election, and the public shall have the opportunity to comment thereon.

(2) Any procedure designed, adopted, and implemented by the audit team for each county and municipal election held in fewer than 100 election districts, but more than a single election district, shall be conducted in at least two election districts.

(3) Within a reasonable period of time after the final vote count after an election, the Attorney General, with the audit team, shall determine and then announce publicly the election districts in the State in which audits shall be conducted, and within 24 hours of that announcement, the audit shall be commenced.

(4) With respect to votes cast at the election district on the date of an election other than by emergency or provisional ballot, the independent audit team shall oversee and supervise a hand-to-eye count of the voter-verifiable paper records and compare those records with the count of such votes announced by the county boards of elections.

(5) With respect to the votes cast other than at the election district on the date of the election, or any other votes counted electronically by the county board of elections on or after the date of the election, including votes cast by military service voters and overseas federal election voters, the independent audit team shall oversee and supervise a count by hand of the voter-verifiable paper records as follows. To maintain voter privacy, prior to each election, the audit team shall direct the appropriate county election official to divide the ballots into batches, hereinafter referred to as audit units. Each audit unit shall contain approximately the average number of ballots cast in the election districts within the county, or fewer, but shall not be associated with any particular election district. As the ballots comprising each audit unit are counted electronically, each audit unit shall be assigned a unique identification number. Immediately after counting the ballots comprising each audit unit, a cumulative summary vote tally report bearing the audit unit's unique identification number and containing the sum of the vote totals of the audit unit and all previously counted audit units in the election shall be printed and affixed to the audit unit. The reports shall be subject to the same secure chain of custody as the ballots comprising the audit units and shall be used by the audit team to determine the electronic vote tally for each audit unit. The audit team shall first compare the vote tallies in the final cumulative report to the official results announced by the county and resolve any discrepancies, and then include all the audit units from each county in the random selection process and if selected, cause them to be audited in the same manner provided herein for election districts, except that the hand-to-eye count shall be compared to the electronic vote tally derived from the cumulative reports.

(6) The selection of the election districts, audit units, and county and municipal elections to be audited shall be made by the Attorney General on a random basis by lot, at a public meeting, using a uniform distribution in which all election districts in which an election is held, and county and municipal elections have an equal chance of being selected, in accordance with such procedures as the Attorney General, upon the recommendation of a majority of the audit team, deems appropriate. Selection of election districts or audit units for county and municipal elections held in less than 100 election districts may be made randomly using a non-uniform distribution to be determined by the Attorney General, upon the recommendation of a majority of the audit team. Such procedures shall be published prior to use in any given election, and the public shall have the opportunity to comment thereon. Notwithstanding the requirements set forth in this paragraph, the audit team shall have the authority to cause audits to be conducted of any election district or audit unit which has not been randomly selected for auditing in which a majority of the audit team determines from the un-audited election results, past election results, or other data that the votes are likely to have been miscounted. The Attorney General shall allow members of the public, including but not limited to those permitted to observe recounts, to observe the audits.

(7) As soon as practicable after the completion of an audit conducted pursuant to this section, the Attorney General shall announce publicly and publish the results of the audit and shall include in the announcement a comparison of the results of the election in the districts, as determined by the independent audit team performing the audit, and the final vote count in the districts as announced by the county boards of elections, including a list, by election district and audit unit, of any discrepancies between the initial vote count and any subsequent manual counts of the voter-verifiable paper record; explanations for such discrepancies, if any; and tallies of all overvotes, undervotes or their equivalents, blank ballots, spoiled ballots, and cancellations recorded on the voter-verifiable paper record. If the audit under this section results in a change in the number of votes counted for any candidate, the revised vote totals shall be incorporated in the official result from the relevant election districts or audit units.

(8) No county shall certify the results of any election that is subject to an audit performed pursuant to this section prior to the completion of the audit and the announcement and publication of the results thereof as required by paragraph (7) of this subsection. The audit and publication of the results thereof shall be completed prior to the time the State shall make a final determination with respect to any controversy or contest concerning the appointment of its electors for President or Vice President of the United States prior to the deadline established in section 6 of Pub.L.80-644 (3 U.S.C.s.6).

(9) If the Attorney General, based on a recommendation of a majority of the professional audit team, determines that any of the hand-to-eye counts conducted under this section show cause for concern about the accuracy of the results of any election in the State, or in a county or a municipality, or with respect to a particular election, the independent audit team shall oversee, supervise, and cause to be conducted hand-to-eye counts under this section in such additional election districts or audit units as the Attorney General considers appropriate to resolve any such concerns. The Attorney General shall issue previous to any election the criteria to be employed to determine whether the hand-to-eye counts show concern about the accuracy of the election results in order to trigger further hand-to-eye counts. Such criteria shall be published prior to use in any given election, and the public shall have the opportunity to comment thereon. Notwithstanding the requirements previously set forth in this paragraph, additional hand-to-eye counts shall be conducted if in the initial audit conducted pursuant to the procedures set forth in this subsection, any discrepancy or discrepancies attributable to the electronic counting system would alter the vote share of any candidate or ballot position by one tenth of one percent or more of the hand counted votes in the sample. Under such circumstances, the audit of the election shall be expanded using the same number of election districts and when possible, audit units, as the initial audit and shall be conducted under the same procedures used to conduct the initial audit, provided, however, that if the initial audit comprises more than one half the total number of election districts and audit units in the election, the expanded audit shall be a full hand-to-eye count of the remaining un-audited election districts and audit units. Further hand-to-eye counts shall be conducted if any discrepancy or discrepancies attributable to the electronic counting system detected by the initial or subsequent expanded audit indicates a substantial possibility that a complete hand-to-eye recount would alter the outcome of the audited election.

(10) If the voter-verifiable paper records in any machine are found to be unusable for an audit for any reason whatsoever, another machine used in the same election shall be selected at random by the audit team to replace the original machine in the audit sample. All such selections shall be made randomly in the presence of those observing the audit using a method approved by the Attorney General. An investigation to determine the reason the voter-verifiable paper records were compromised and unusable shall begin immediately, and the results of the investigation shall be made public upon completion.

d. Nothing in this section shall be construed to prevent a candidate or other applicant from requesting a recount pursuant to R.S.19:28-1 et seq. or any other law. In the event that such a recount is held in any election district that has been audited pursuant to this section, the official result from such election district shall be applied to the recount in lieu of conducting a subsequent hand count of the audited election district unless a court, at the request of a candidate or other applicant who requested the recount, so orders.

L.2007, c.349, s.1.

NJSA 19:62-1 Municipality with 500 or fewer persons may conduct elections by mail

1. Notwithstanding any other law, regulation or rule to the contrary, a municipality with a population of 500 or fewer persons, according to the latest federal decennial census, may conduct all elections by mail, provided there is an affirmative vote to do so by the governing body of the municipality and by the governing body of the county in which the municipality is located. An election conducted by mail shall be conducted pursuant to the provisions of this act, P.L.2005, c.148 (C.19:62-1 et seq.).

L.2005,c.148,s.1.

NJSA 19:62-2 Election by mail, duties of county clerk

2. If an election by mail is authorized pursuant to section 1 of this act, P.L.2005, c.148 (C.19:62-1), the county clerk shall:

a. publish, in advance of the election and pursuant to rules and regulations promulgated by the Secretary of State, official notice that the election shall be conducted by mail together with such other information regarding the conduct of the election as shall be deemed necessary by the Secretary of State;

b. mail a ballot, including an outer envelope and an inner envelope substantially similar to the envelopes provided for mail-in ballots pursuant to sections 12 and 13 of P.L.2009, c.79 (C.19:63-12 and C.19:63-13), not sooner than the 20th day prior to the day of the election nor later than the 14th day prior to the day of the election, to each person registered to vote in the municipality at that election;

c. designate the county clerk's office or the municipal clerk's office as the places to obtain a replacement ballot pursuant to section 5 of P.L.2005, c.148 (C.19:62-5);

d. designate, after consultation with the county board of elections and pursuant to criteria established by the Secretary of State, places within the county or municipality that shall be available for the deposit of voted ballots for the election;

e. make a provisional ballot available at the office of the county clerk and the office of the municipal clerk so that each person who has been a resident of the county or municipality in which the person seeks to register and vote at least 21 days prior to the day of the election and has moved to a location within the municipality after that 21st day and prior to the day of the election may vote;

f. suspend distribution to each registered voter in the municipality of samples of the official ballot of any election, but distribute to each registered voter in the municipality with each ballot a copy of the voter information notice provided for in section 1 of P.L.2005, c.149 (C.19:12-7.1) as modified and supplemented by the Secretary of State as deemed appropriate for use in municipalities conducting elections by mail, and such instruction about the completion of the ballot as deemed necessary by the Secretary of State;

g. make certain that all qualified voters in the municipality requesting a mail-in ballot between the 45th day and the 21st day prior to the day of an election receive such ballot after the 20th day prior to the day of an election and voters requesting a ballot on or before the seventh day prior to the date of the election shall receive a ballot authorized pursuant to this section; and

h. establish, after consultation with the county board of elections and in accordance with rules and regulations adopted by the Secretary of State, the time by which all ballots must be received by the board on the day of an election to be considered valid and counted.

L.2005, c.148, s.2; amended 2009, c.79, s.36; 2011, c.37, s.29.

NJSA 19:62-3 Election by mail, duties of county board of elections

3. If an election by mail is authorized pursuant to section 1 of this act, P.L.2005, c.148 (C.19:62-1), the county board of elections shall:

a. consult with the county clerk and the municipal clerk with respect to the conduct of the election, as provided for in subsections d. and h. of section 2 of P.L.2005, c.148 (C.19:62-2);

b. receive all ballots for the election returned by United States mail and collect all ballots for the election which were deposited in designated places of deposit prior to the time established for the closing of the polls;

c. verify the signature of the voter on the outer envelope of each ballot returned by comparing it with the signature on that person's voter registration form, in accordance with the rules and regulations adopted by the Attorney General, and if it is determined that the voter to whom a ballot or a replacement ballot has been issued has voted more than once, not count any ballot by that voter;

d. remove the inner envelope from the outer envelope of each ballot on the day of the election and proceed with the canvass of such ballots; and

e. conduct the canvass of the ballots and the certification of the results of the election in accordance with the procedures provided for such actions in this act, P.L.2005, c.148 (C.19:62-1 et seq.) and in Title 19 of the Revised Statutes.

L.2005,c.148,s.3.

NJSA 19:62-4 Election by mail, availability of voting machine accessible to disabled persons

4. If an election by mail is authorized pursuant to section 1 of this act, P.L.2005, c.148 (C. 19:62-1), the superintendent of elections or the commissioner of registration, as may be appropriate, shall make certain that at least one voting machine that is fully accessible to individuals with disabilities shall be located in the office of the municipal clerk and available for use by such individuals. Other than as provided for in section 9 of P.L. 2005, c.148 (C.19:62-9), all the provisions of this Title concerning polling places shall apply to the office of a municipal clerk used for this purpose, as deemed appropriate by the Attorney General.

L.2005,c.148,s.4.

NJSA 19:62-5 Replacement ballot

5. A registered voter may obtain a replacement ballot if a ballot has not been received by that person, or if it has been destroyed, spoiled or lost. A registered voter seeking a replacement ballot shall proceed to the office of the county clerk or municipal clerk to obtain such a ballot and sign a sworn statement that the ballot was destroyed, spoiled, lost or not received and present the statement to the county clerk or the municipal clerk prior to the time designated by law for the closing of the polls for that election. The county clerk and municipal clerk shall each keep a record of each replacement ballot provided.

Nothing in this section shall prevent a voter seeking a replacement ballot from obtaining such a ballot from the county clerk or municipal clerk anytime after ballots have been mailed to registered voters pursuant to subsection b. of section 2 of P.L.2005, c.148 (C.19:62-2) and before the day of the election or from mailing a replacement ballot to the county board of elections prior to the day of the election.

L.2005,c.148,s.5.

NJSA 19:62-6 Statement on ballot

6. Each ballot obtained from the county clerk or the municipal clerk shall have printed or stamped on it the following statement:

ANY PERSON WHO, BY USE OF FORCE OR ANY OTHER MEANS, UNDULY INFLUENCES A VOTER TO VOTE IN ANY PARTICULAR MANNER OR TO REFRAIN FROM VOTING IS GUILTY OF A CRIME.

L.2005,c.148,s.6.

NJSA 19:62-7 Ballots for primary election for general election

7. For a primary election for the general election:

a. the county clerk shall mail the ballot of a political party to each voter in the municipality who is registered as being affiliated with the political party as of the 21st day before the day of the primary election; and

b. a voter who is not affiliated with any political party who wishes to vote in the primary of a political party shall apply to the county clerk or municipal clerk in writing for the ballot of the political party in whose primary the voter wishes to vote, or designate a political party affiliation for the first time by whatever means permitted by law, and the application or designation shall be presented to the clerk through the day of the election.

L.2005,c.148,s.7.

NJSA 19:62-8 Voter's actions prior to transmittal of ballot

8. Prior to transmitting a ballot to the county board of elections, a registered voter shall mark it and place it in the inner envelope. The inner envelope shall then be placed in the outer envelope and that envelope shall be signed and certified by the voter pursuant to instructions provided with the ballot. The voter may return the envelopes containing the marked ballot to the county board by United States mail or by depositing it at the office of the county board or any other place of deposit designated for that purpose. If the voter returns the ballot by United States mail, the voter shall provide the postage.

L.2005,c.148,s.8.

NJSA 19:62-9 Open hours of office of municipal clerk on election days

9. The office of the municipal clerk shall be open from 6:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. on the day of an election to provide replacement ballots or provisional ballots to voters, receive voted ballots being deposited in person by voters and permit individuals with disabilities to vote using a voting machine that is fully accessible to such individuals. During this time, such appropriate staff shall be available for election purposes at the office of the municipal clerk as may be required by the county board of elections to ensure the proper administration of the election process.

L.2005,c.148,s.9.

NJSA 19:62-10 Receipt time of ballot for it to be counted, counting

10. a. For a ballot to be counted, it shall be received by the county board of elections no later than the time established for the closing of the polls for that election, pursuant to subsection h. of section 2 of this act, P.L.2005, c.148 (C.19:62-2).

Nothing in this subsection shall preclude the board from starting to count the ballots it has received for an election prior to the time designated for the closing of the polls for that election.

b.A vote that is cast on a voting machine that is fully accessible to individuals with disabilities shall be counted and canvassed in the same manner as all other votes cast by voting machine pursuant to the provisions of this Title.

L.2005,c.148,s.10.

NJSA 19:62-11 Criteria for a ballot to be counted

11. If received in a timely manner, a ballot shall be counted only if:

a.the ballot is returned in the inner envelope and the inner envelope is enclosed in the outer envelope;

b.the envelopes in which it is returned manifest no signs of tampering or improper handling;

c.the outer envelope is signed by the registered voter to whom the ballot has been issued; and

d.the signature is verified as provided in subsection c. of section 3 of this act, P.L.2005, c.148 (C.19:62-3).

L.2005,c.148,s.11.

NJSA 19:62-12 Challenging of voter, ballot

12. Any ballot and any voter casting a ballot in an election held by mail may be challenged pursuant to rules and regulations adopted by the Attorney General.

L.2005,c.148,s.12.

NJSA 19:62-13 Rules, regulations

13. The Attorney General shall promulgate, pursuant to the "Administrative Procedure Act," P.L.1968, c.410 (C.52:14B-1 et seq.), such rules and regulations as may be deemed necessary to effectuate the purposes of this act.

L.2005,c.148,s.13.

NJSA 19:63-1 Short title

1. This act shall be known as and may be cited as "The Vote By Mail Law"

L.2009, c.79, s.1.

NJSA 19:63-2 Definitions relative to voting by mail

2.As used in this act, unless otherwise indicated by the context:

"Election," "General Election," "primary election for the general election," "municipal election," "school election," and "special election" mean, respectively, such elections as defined in R.S.19:1-1 et seq.

"Family Member" means an adult who is a spouse, parent, child, grandparent, grandchild or sibling of a voter, whether by adoption or natural relationship. It shall also include any adult occupant regularly living with a voter in any residential building or part of a building intended for the use of no more than one family.

"Mail-In Ballot" means any ballot used by a mail-in voter to vote by mail in any election.

"Mail-In Voter" means any qualified and registered voter of this State who wants to vote in any election using a mail-in ballot under the provisions of this act.

L.2009, c.79, s.2; amended 2011, c.134, s.49.

NJSA 19:63-3 Procedure for user of mail-in ballot

3. a. A qualified voter shall be entitled to vote using a mail-in ballot in any election held in this State.

b. Not less than seven days before an election in which a voter wants to vote by mail, the voter may apply to the person designated in section 5 of P.L.2009, c.79 (C.19:63-5), for a mail-in ballot. The application shall be in writing, shall be signed by the applicant and shall state the applicant's place of voting residence and the address to which the ballot shall be sent. The Secretary of State shall prepare a mail-in application form and shall have the authority to promulgate any rules and regulations the secretary deems necessary to effectuate the purposes of this subsection.

c. Any voter wanting to vote by mail in any election may apply to the person designated in section 5 of P.L.2009, c.79 (C.19:63-5) for a mail-in ballot to be sent to the voter. A voter who is a member of the armed forces of the United States may use a federal postcard application form to apply for a mail-in ballot.

d .Any voter who fails to apply for a mail-in ballot before the seven-day period prescribed in subsection b. of this section may apply in person to the county clerk for a mail-in ballot up to 3 p.m. of the day before the election.

e. (1) A voter who wishes to vote only by mail-in ballot in all future general elections in which the voter is eligible to vote, and who states that on an application for a mail-in ballot, shall be furnished such a ballot by the county clerk without further request on the part of the voter and until the voter requests that the voter no longer be sent a mail-in ballot. A voter shall also have the option to indicate on an application for a mail-in ballot that the voter would like to receive such a ballot for each election that takes place during the remainder of the calendar year in which the application is completed and submitted. A voter who exercises this option shall be furnished with a mail-in ballot for each election that takes place during the remainder of the calendar year without further request by the voter. A person voting by mail-in ballot who registered by mail after January 1, 2003, who did not provide personal identification information when registering pursuant to section 16 of P.L.1974, c.30 (C.19:31-6.4) and is voting for the first time in his or her current county of residence following registration shall include copies of the required identification information with the mail-in ballot. Failure to include such information with the mail-in ballot shall result in its rejection.

(2) In the event that a voter who has requested a mail-in ballot for all general elections does not complete and return such a ballot for canvassing for the fourth general election following the general election at which the voter last voted, the county clerk shall send a notice to that voter to ascertain whether he or she continues to reside at the address from which that voter is registered to vote and continues to be eligible to vote. If the notice is not completed and returned by the voter to the clerk before the 40th day prior to the next general election, a mail-in ballot shall not be sent to the voter for that election. The ability of such a voter to receive a mail-in ballot for all future general elections shall be suspended until the voter submits a new application for such a ballot that indicates that the voter wishes to receive the ballot for all future general elections.

(3) The county clerk shall not transmit a mail-in ballot to any person who is deemed by a county commissioner of registration to be an inactive voter or whose registration file has been transferred to the deleted file pursuant to R.S.19:31-19.

L.2009, c.79, s.3.

NJSA 19:63-4 Application for mail-in ballot, authorized messenger

4. a. A qualified voter is entitled to apply for and obtain a mail-in ballot by authorized messenger, who shall be so designated over the signature of the voter and whose printed name and address shall appear on the application in the space provided. The authorized messenger shall be a family member or a registered voter of the county in which the application is made and shall place his or her signature on the application in the space so provided in the presence of the county clerk or the designee thereof. No person shall serve as an authorized messenger or as a bearer for more than three qualified voters in an election. No person who is a candidate in the election for which the voter requests a mail-in ballot shall be permitted to serve as an authorized messenger or bearer. The authorized messenger shall show a photo identification card to the county clerk, or the designee thereof, at the time the messenger submits the application form. The county clerk or the designee thereof shall authenticate the signature of the authorized messenger in the event such a person is other than a family member, by comparing it with the signature of the person appearing on a State of New Jersey driver's license, or other identification issued or recognized as official by the federal government, the State, or any of its political subdivisions, providing the identification carries the full address and signature of the person. After the authentication of the signature on the application, the county clerk or the designee thereof is authorized to deliver to the authorized messenger a ballot to be delivered to the qualified voter.

b. The Secretary of State shall cause to be prepared a standard authorized messenger application form, which may be included with the mail-in ballot application forms. The authorized messenger section of the application shall contain the following language above the signature of the authorized messenger: "I do hereby certify that I will deliver the mail-in ballot directly to the voter and no other person, under penalty of law."

L.2009, c.79, s.4; amended 2015, c.84, s.1.

NJSA 19:63-5 Application for mail-in ballot to county clerk

5. In the case of any election, the application for a mail-in ballot shall be made to the county clerk. The county clerk shall stamp thereon the date on which the application was received in the clerk's office.

In the case of applications for overseas federal election voter ballots, as provided for in P.L.1976, c.23 (C.19:59-1 et seq.), no application shall be refused on the grounds that it was submitted too early.

L.2009, c.79, s.5.

NJSA 19:63-6 Publication of notice

6. a. The county clerk, in the case of any Statewide election, countywide election, or school election in a regional or other school district comprising more than one municipality; the municipal clerk, in the case of any municipal election or school election in a school district comprising a single municipality; and the commissioners or other governing or administrative body of the district, in the case of any election to be held in any fire district or other special district, other than a municipality, created for specified public purposes within one or more municipalities, shall publish the following notice in substantially the following form:

NOTICE TO PERSONS WANTING MAIL-IN BALLOTS

If you are a qualified and registered voter of the State who wants to vote by mail in the......................... (school, municipal, primary, general, or other) election to be held on................. (date of election) complete the application form below and send to the undersigned, or write or apply in person to the undersigned at once requesting that a mail-in ballot be forwarded to you. The request must state your home address and the address to which the ballot should be sent. The request must be dated and signed with your signature.

If any person has assisted you to complete the mail-in ballot application, the name, address and signature of the assistor must be provided on the application, and you must sign and date the application for it to be valid and processed. No person shall serve as an authorized messenger or as a bearer for more than three qualified voters in an election. No person who is a candidate in the election for which the voter requests a mail-in ballot may provide any assistance in the completion of the ballot or may serve as an authorized messenger or bearer.

No mail-in ballot will be provided to any applicant who submits a request therefor by mail unless the request is received at least seven days before the election and contains the requested information. A voter may, however, request an application in person from the county clerk up to 3 p.m. of the day before the election.

Voters who want to vote only by mail in all future general elections in which they are eligible to vote, and who state that on their application shall, after their initial request and without further action on their part, be provided a mail-in ballot by the county clerk until the voter requests that the voter no longer be sent such a ballot. A voter's failure to vote in the fourth general election following the general election at which the voter last voted may result in the suspension of that voter's ability to receive a mail-in ballot for all future general elections unless a new application is completed and filed with the county clerk.

Voters also have the option of indicating on their mail-in ballot applications that they would prefer to receive mail-in ballots for each election that takes place during the remainder of this calendar year. Voters who exercise this option will be furnished with mail-in ballots for each election that takes place during the remainder of this calendar year, without further action on their part.

Application forms may be obtained by applying to the undersigned either in writing or by telephone, or the application form provided below may be completed and forwarded to the undersigned.

Dated.....................................................

............................................................................

(signature and title of county clerk)

....................................

(address of county clerk)

....................................

(telephone no. of county clerk)

b. (1) The Secretary of State shall be responsible for providing all information regarding overseas ballots to each overseas voter eligible for such a ballot pursuant to P.L.1976, c.23 (C.19:59-1 et seq.). The secretary shall also make available valid overseas voter registration and ballot applications to any voter who is a member of the armed forces of the United States and who is a permanent resident of this State, or who is an overseas voter who wishes to register to vote or to vote in any jurisdiction in this State. The secretary shall provide such public notice as may be deemed necessary to inform members of the armed forces of the United States and overseas voters how to obtain valid overseas voter registration and ballot applications.

(2)The Secretary of State shall undertake a program to inform voters in this State about their eligibility to vote by mail pursuant to this act. Dissemination of this information shall be included in the standard notices required by this section and other provisions of current law, including but not limited to the notice requirements of R.S.19:12-7, and shall be effectuated by such means as the secretary deems appropriate and to the extent that funds for such dissemination are appropriated including, but not limited to, by means of Statewide or local electronic media, public service announcements broadcast by such media, notices on the Internet site of the Department of State or any other department or agency of the Executive Branch of State government or its political subdivisions deemed appropriate by the secretary, and special mailings or notices in newspapers or other publications circulating in the counties or municipalities of this State.

c. The mail-in ballot materials shall contain a notice that any person voting by mail-in ballot who has registered by mail after January 1, 2003, who did not provide personal identification information when registering and is voting for the first time in his or her current county of residence following registration shall include copies of the required identification information with the mail-in ballot, and that failure to include such information shall result in the rejection of the ballot.

d. The notice provided for in subsection a. of this section shall be published before the 55th day immediately preceding the holding of any election.

Notices relating to any Statewide or countywide election shall be published in at least two newspapers published in each county. All officials charged with the duty of publishing such notices shall publish the same in at least one newspaper published in each municipality or district in which the election is to be held, or if no newspaper is published in the municipality or district, then in a newspaper published in the county and circulating in the municipality or district. All such notices shall be display advertisements.

L.2009, c.79, s.6; amended 2011, c.37, s.30; 2011, c.134, s.50; 2015, c.84, s.2.

NJSA 19:63-7 Printing of mail-in ballots

7. a. Each county clerk shall have printed sufficient mail-in ballots for each primary election for the general election, and for the general election. Along with such ballots the clerk shall also furnish inner and outer envelopes and printed directions for the preparation and transmitting of such ballots used in the election in the county.

b. The mail-in ballots shall be printed on paper of a different color from that used for any primary or general election ballot, but in all other respects, shall be as nearly as possible facsimiles of the election ballot to be voted at the election.

L.2009, c.79, s.7; amended 2011, c.134, s.51.

NJSA 19:63-7.1 Production, transmission of mail-in ballots in certain circumstances

36. a. If in the year in which the Apportionment Commission establishes new legislative districts the production and transmission of mail-in ballots for the primary or general election cannot be accomplished starting on or before the 45th day before the day of either election pursuant to section 9 of P.L.2009, c.79 (C.19:63-9), the Secretary of State shall undertake such actions as the secretary deems necessary to ensure that the ballots are produced and transmitted to mail-in voters as soon as possible after the 45th day before the election.

b. If a member of the Senate or General Assembly who is a member of a political party vacates the office prior to the expiration of the term thereof and a vacancy is created after the 70th day before the day of a general election, and due to the timing of the vacancy the production and transmission of mail-in ballots for the general election cannot be accomplished starting on or before the 45th day before the day of the election pursuant to section 9 of P.L.2009, c.79 (C.19:63-9), the Secretary of State shall undertake such actions as the secretary deems necessary to ensure that the ballots are produced and transmitted to mail-in voters as soon as possible after the 45th day before the election.

L.2011, c.37, s.36.

NJSA 19:63-8 Verification of voter's signature for issuance of mail-in ballot

8. Upon receipt of a request for a mail-in ballot, the county clerk shall, with the cooperation of the commissioner of registration, cause the signature of the applicant to be compared with the signature of the person appearing on the permanent registration form, or the digitalized image of the voter's signature stored in the Statewide voter registration system, to determine from such examination, and any other available information, if the applicant is a voter qualified to cast a ballot in the election in which the voter wants to vote, and determine in case of a primary election the political party primary in which the voter is entitled to vote. The commissioner of registration, or the superintendent of elections in counties having a superintendent of elections may, at the request of the county clerk, investigate any application or request for a mail-in ballot.

If, after such examination, the county clerk is satisfied that the applicant is entitled to a ballot, the clerk shall mark on the application "Approved." If, after such examination the county clerk determines that the applicant is not entitled to a ballot, the clerk shall mark on the application "Disapproved" and shall so notify the applicant, stating the reason therefor, as required by section 5 of P.L.2004, c.88 (C.19:61-5).

L.2009, c.79, s.8.

NJSA 19:63-9 Delivery of mail-in ballots

9. a. Starting on or before the 45th day before the day an election is held, each county clerk shall forward mail-in ballots by first-class postage or hand delivery to each mail-in voter whose request therefor has been approved. Mail-in ballots that have been approved before the 45th day before an election shall be forwarded or delivered at least 45 days before the day of the election. Hand delivery of a mail-in ballot shall be made by the county clerk or the clerk's designee only to the voter, or the voter's authorized messenger, who must appear in person. No person shall serve as an authorized messenger for more than three qualified voters in an election. Ballots that have not been hand delivered shall be addressed to the voter at the forwarding address given in the application.

b. (1) Whenever the clerk forwards a mail-in ballot by mail to a mail-in voter between the 45th day and the 13th day before the day of an election, the ballot shall be transmitted within three business days of the receipt of the application.

(2)Whenever the clerk forwards a mail-in ballot by mail to a mail-in voter between the 12th day and the seventh day before the day of an election, the ballot shall be transmitted within two business days of the receipt of the application.

The provisions of this subsection shall not apply to: (a) annual school elections and special school elections in those school districts holding such elections, pursuant to P.L.1995, c.278 (C.19:60-1 et seq.); (b) any municipality in which elections are conducted by mail, pursuant to P.L.2005, c.148 (C.19:62-1 et seq.); (c) annual elections for members of the boards of fire district commissions, pursuant to N.J.S.40A:14-72; and (d) the vote on any public question submitted to the voters of a local unit to increase the amount to be raised by taxation by more than the allowable adjusted tax levy, pursuant to section 11 of P.L.2007, c.62 (C.40A:4-45.46).

c.(Deleted by amendment, P.L.2011, c.37).

L.2009, c.79, s.9; amended 2011, c.37, s.31; 2015, c.84, s.3.

NJSA 19:63-10 Forwarding of requests to county board of elections, lists of requests kept

10. a. Each county clerk, after processing the applications for mail-in ballots requiring approval under section 8 of P.L.2009, c.79 (C.19:63-8) and furnishing the applicants with a mail-in ballot pursuant to that act, shall forward such requests, including those disapproved, to the county board of elections. Each clerk shall also keep one list of the requests received by the clerk and another list of the applicants whose applications were approved and sent mail-in ballots. Each list shall include the name and street address of each person requesting or receiving a mail-in ballot. The clerk shall update the lists each business day and they shall be made available to the public and transmitted to all election officials charged with the duty of administering this act.

b. Each county board of elections shall keep a list of the name and street address of each person who returns a voted mail-in ballot and the name and street address of each person who delivers the ballot personally to the board. The board shall update the list each business day and it shall be accessible to the public and transmitted to all elections officials charged with the duty of administering this act.

The county clerk and the county board of elections shall keep the lists required by this section starting no later than the 14th day before the day of the election and continue to do so until the day of the election.

L.2009, c.79, s.10.

NJSA 19:63-11 Ballots marked "Official Mail-In Ballot"

11. a. Each mail-in ballot to be used at any election shall conform generally to the ballot to be used at the election in the voter's district but the ballots shall be clearly marked "Official Mail-In Ballot."

At the top of every mail-in ballot there shall be printed or stamped in a prominent size the following:

To protect your vote:

IT IS AGAINST THE LAW FOR ANYONE EXCEPT YOU THE VOTER TO MARK OR INSPECT THIS BALLOT.

However, a family member may assist you in doing so.

b. Each mail-in ballot to be used pursuant to this act shall be printed entirely in black ink. In addition to conforming generally to the ballot used in the election, the mail-in ballot shall be so prepared that the voter may indicate on it the voter's choice of the candidates for the offices to be filled, and the public questions to be voted on at the election by the voters of the entire State, county or municipality in which the voter is a resident, as known on the 48th day preceding the election. Sufficient space shall be provided on the ballot for the voter to write in the name of and vote for any candidate for, or the voter's personal choice for, any public office to be voted for at the election in the voter's election district. A list of the candidates for the offices to be filled in each election district in the county, whose names are known on the day on which the ballot is forwarded but do not appear on the ballot, with a statement of the office for which each is a candidate, shall be forwarded with such ballot.

When mail-in ballots are prepared, the name of any candidate who has been nominated for any office shall be placed on the ballot to be used in the general election to be held in the year in each election district in which he is a candidate, whether or not such candidate has accepted nomination prior to when the ballot was prepared, provided that the candidate has not declined the nomination before the ballot was prepared.

c. Each mail-in ballot to be used at any primary election for the general election shall, except as otherwise provided, conform to the ballot to be used at the election in the voter's election district and to the form herein prescribed for mail-in ballots to be used in such general elections. It shall be prepared so that the voter may indicate the voter's choice of the candidates of one political party for each of the officers to be voted on at the election by the voters of the election district and shall be separated into party ballots, which shall be printed upon one sheet when the voting system so allows.

Each such mail-in ballot shall be plainly marked to indicate that only one party ballot is to be voted by each voter and that the party ballot voted by the voter must conform to the name of the political party indicated by the county clerk.

If the county clerk has determined by investigating a voter's registration record that the voter is qualified to vote only in the primary of a particular party, the clerk shall so note on the primary ballot the party primary in which the voter is entitled to vote.

In the case where the county clerk has ascertained through investigating the voter's registration record that such applicant is requesting a ballot to vote in the first primary for which the voter is eligible after registration, the clerk shall note on the primary ballot that the voter can vote in the primary of any political party.

d. Any county may adopt a system of electronic scanning, or other mechanical or electronic device if the system has been approved previously by the Secretary of State to count or canvass mail-in ballots. The county clerk in any county adopting such a system may prepare and use mail-in ballots that do not conform generally to the ballot to be used at the election to the extent that such nonconformance is necessary in the operation of the electronic or mechanical canvassing system.

L.2009, c.79, s.11; amended 2011, c.134, s.52.

NJSA 19:63-12 Directions for preparation, transmitting of mail-in ballots

12.Each county clerk shall send, with each mail-in ballot, printed directions for the preparation and transmitting of the ballots as required by this act. The directions shall be printed in such manner and form as the Secretary of State shall require, together with two envelopes of such sizes that one will contain the other.

The outer envelope shall be addressed to the county board of elections of the county in which is located the home address of the person to whom the mail-in ballot is sent, as certified by the county clerk. At the discretion of the county clerk, the outer envelope may be a postage paid return envelope. On the outside and front of each outer envelope, there shall be printed or stamped the following:

To protect your vote:

IT IS AGAINST THE LAW FOR ANYONE EXCEPT YOU THE VOTER TO MAIL OR TRANSPORT THIS BALLOT UNLESS THE ENVELOPE IS SEALED AND THE FOLLOWING IS COMPLETED:

Ballot mailed or transported by

(signature of bearer)

(print name of bearer)

(address of bearer)

The reserve side of the outer envelope shall contain the following:

REMINDER

For your vote to count, you must:

1)Vote your ballot and place it in the inner envelope with the attached certificate.

2)Seal the envelope.

3)Place the envelope into the larger envelope addressed to the board of elections and seal that envelope.

4)If another person will be mailing your ballot or bringing it to the board of elections, MAKE CERTAIN THAT PERSON COMPLETES THE "BEARER PORTION" ON THE ENVELOPE ADDRESSED TO THE BOARD OF ELECTIONS BEFORE THE BALLOT IS TAKEN FROM YOU. NO PERSON WHO IS A CANDIDATE IN THE ELECTION FOR WHICH THE VOTER REQUESTS THIS BALLOT IS PERMITTED TO SERVE AS A BEARER. NO PERSON IS PERMITTED TO SERVE AS A BEARER FOR MORE THAN THREE QUALIFIED VOTERS IN AN ELECTION.

The Secretary of State is authorized to make such changes to the instructions for mail-in ballot materials as the Secretary of State deems necessary or as is mandated by federal or State law.

The inner envelope shall be so designed that it can be sealed after the mail-in ballot has been placed therein and the flap thereof shall be of such length and size as to leave sufficient margin, after sealing, for the printing thereon of the certificate hereinafter described. The flap shall be so arranged that, after the inner envelope has been sealed, the certificate can be contained, with the inner envelope, in the outer envelope, and that the margin containing the certificate can be detached without unsealing the inner envelope.

On the outside of each envelope in which a mail-in ballot is sent to a mail-in voter by the clerk, there shall be printed or stamped the words "Official Mail-In Ballot." In addition, there shall be printed or stamped the following:

To protect your vote:

IT IS AGAINST THE LAW FOR ANYONE EXCEPT YOU THE VOTER TO OPEN, MARK, INSPECT OR SEAL THIS BALLOT.

However, a family member may assist you in doing so.

The reverse side of each inner envelope shall contain the following statement:

A PERSON MAY BE FINED AND IMPRISONED AND MAY ALSO LOSE THE RIGHT TO VOTE UNTIL RESTORED BY LAW if that person attempts to vote fraudulently by mail-in ballot, prevents the voting of a legal voter, certifies falsely any information, interferes with a person's secrecy of voting, tampers with ballots or election documents or helps another person to do so.

L.2009, c.79, s.12; amended 2015, c.84, s.4.

NJSA 19:63-13 Certificate of mail-in voter

13. a. On the margin of the flap on the inner envelopes to be sent to mail-in voters there shall be printed a certificate in the following form:

CERTIFICATE OF MAIL-IN VOTER
I, .........................(print your name clearly), whose home address is .............. (streetaddress or R.D. number) ...............................................(municipality), DO HEREBY CERTIFY,
Subject to the penalties for fraudulent voting, that I am the person who applied for the enclosed ballot.

I MARKED AND SEALED THIS BALLOT AND CERTIFICATE IN SECRET.
However, a family member may assist me in doing so. ...............................(signature of voter)
Any person providing assistance shall complete the following:
I do hereby certify that I am the person who provided assistance to this voter and declare that I will maintain the secrecy of this ballot.
...............................(signature of person providing assistance)
...............................(printed name of person providing assistance)
...............................(address of person providing assistance)
...............................

b.On the margin of the flap on the inner envelope forwarded with any mail-in ballot intended to be voted in any primary election for the general election, as the case may be, there shall be printed a certificate in the following form:

CERTIFICATE OF MAIL-IN VOTER
I,.........................,(print your name clearly) whose home address is..............(street address or R.D. number) ...............................................(municipality,) DO HEREBY CERTIFY,
subject to the penalties for fraudulent voting, that I am the person who applied for the enclosed ballot for the primary election. I MARKED AND SEALED THIS BALLOT AND CERTIFICATE IN SECRET. However, a family member may assist me in doing so.
..............................(signature of voter)

Any person providing assistance shall complete the following:
I do hereby certify that I am the person who provided assistance to this voter and declare that I will maintain the secrecy of this ballot.
..............................(signature of person providing assistance)
..............................(printed name of person providing assistance)
..............................(address of person providing assistance)
..............................

L.2009, c.79, s.13; amended 2011, c.134, s.53.

NJSA 19:63-14 Certification by county clerk

14. Each county clerk shall, from time to time and prior to each election, certify in writing under oath to the commissioner of registration of the county, the names and addresses of the persons to whom mail-in ballots to be voted at such election have been delivered or forwarded pursuant to this act.

L.2009, c.79, s.14.

NJSA 19:63-15 Marking of applicant's record

15. The commissioner of registration upon receipt of the information from the county clerk required by section 14 of P.L.2009, c.79 (C.19:63-14) shall mark the applicant's record in the Statewide voter registration system and duplicate voting record appearing on the signature copy registers as follows.

Whenever the commissioner of registration receives from the county clerk notice that a mail-in ballot has been forwarded to a voter during the time when the signature copy registers are in the custody of other election officials pursuant to current law, or are in transit to or from such officials, the commissioner shall, prior to the opening of the polls on election day, forward to each polling place a list of all such voters to whom ballots have been sent but whose duplicate voting record has not been marked in the manner herein prescribed. Such lists may be prepared in the same manner as a challenge sheet and may be included therein together with other causes for challenge. Any person whose name appears on any list or notice furnished by the commissioner of registration to the effect that such voter has received a mail-in ballot, but who wishes nevertheless to vote at the polls on the day of an election, shall be permitted to vote by provisional ballot after completing the affirmation statement attached to the envelope provided with the provisional ballot pursuant to section 7 of P.L.1999, c.232 (C.19:53C-1).

Whenever a mail-in ballot has been delivered to a voter less than seven days before an election and up to 3 p.m. of the day before the election, and the signature copy registers are in the custody of other election officials, or in transit to or from such officials, the county clerk shall prepare a master list of all such ballots, and the list shall be transmitted to the commissioner of registration in sufficient time to permit the commissioner to notify the appropriate municipal clerk. The clerk shall notify the judge of the polling place to mark the voter's record accordingly.

L.2009, c.79, s.15.

NJSA 19:63-16 Marking of mail-in ballot by voter; delivery to board of elections

16. a. A mail-in voter shall be entitled to mark any mail-in ballot forwarded to the voter for voting at any election by indicating the voter's choice of candidates for the offices named, and as to public questions, if any, stated thereon, in accordance with current law. In the case of ballots to be voted for any primary election for the general election, as the case may be, the voter's choice shall be limited to the candidates of the voter's political party or to any person or persons whose names are written thereon by the voter. When so marked, such ballot shall be placed in the inner envelope, which shall then be sealed, and the voter shall then fill in the form of certificate attached to the inner envelope, at the end of which the voter shall sign and print the voter's name. The inner envelope with the certificate shall then be placed in the outer envelope, which shall then be sealed.

b.No mail-in voter shall permit any person in any way, except as provided by this act, to unseal, mark or inspect the voter's ballot, interfere with the secrecy of the voter's vote, complete or sign the certificate, or seal the inner or outer envelope, nor shall any person do so.

c.A mail-in voter shall be entitled to assistance from a family member in performing any of the actions provided for in this section. The family member or other person providing such assistance shall certify that he or she assisted the voter and will maintain the secrecy of the vote by both printing and signing his or her name in the space provided on the certificate. In no event may a candidate for election provide such assistance, nor may any person, at the time of providing such assistance, campaign or electioneer on behalf of any candidate.

d. (1) The sealed outer envelope with the inner envelope and the ballot enclosed therein shall then either be mailed to the county board of elections to which it is addressed or delivered personally by the voter or a bearer designated by the voter to the board. To be counted, the ballot must be received by the board or its designee before the time designated by R.S.19:15-2 or R.S.19:23-40 for the closing of the polls, as may be appropriate, on the day of an election.

(2)Whenever a person delivers a ballot to the county board, that person shall provide proof of the person's identity in the form of a New Jersey driver's license, or another form of identification issued or recognized as official by the federal government, the State, or any of its subdivisions, providing the identification carries the full address and signature of the person. The person shall sign a record maintained by the county of all mail-in ballots personally delivered to it.

(3)No person shall serve as an authorized messenger or as a bearer for more than three qualified voters in an election. No person who is a candidate in the election for which the voter requests a mail-in ballot shall be permitted to serve as an authorized messenger or bearer. The bearer, by signing the certification provided for in section 12 of P.L.2009, c.79 (C.19:63-12), certifies that he or she received a mail-in ballot directly from the voter, and no other person, and is authorized to deliver the ballot to the appropriate board of election or designee on behalf of the voter.

L.2009, c.79, s.16; amended 2011, c.134, s.54; 2015, c.84, s.5.

NJSA 19:63-17 Actions of county board of elections relative to mail-in ballot

17. The county board of elections shall, promptly after receiving each mail-in ballot, remove the inner envelope containing the ballot from the outer envelope and shall compare the signature and the information contained on the flap of the inner envelope with the signature and information contained in the respective requests for mail-in ballots. In addition, as to mail-in ballots issued less than seven days prior to an election, the county board of elections shall also check to establish that the mail-in voter did not vote in person. The county board shall reject such a ballot if it is not satisfied, pursuant to a comparison with the Statewide voter registration system, that the voter is legally entitled to vote and that the ballot conforms with the requirements of this act.

In the case of a mail-in ballot to be voted at a primary election for the general election, the ballot shall be rejected if the mail-in voter has indicated in the certificate the voter's intention to vote in a primary election of any political party in which the voter is not entitled to vote according to the Statewide voter registration system, and if it shall appear from the record that the voter is not entitled to vote in a primary election of the political party which has been so indicated.

Any mail-in ballot which is received by a county board of elections shall be rejected if both the inner and outer envelopes are unsealed or if either envelope has a seal that has been tampered with.

Disputes about the qualifications of a mail-in voter to vote or about whether or not or how any mail-in ballot shall be counted in such election shall be referred to the Superior Court for determination.

After such investigation, the county board of elections shall detach or separate the certificate from the inner envelope containing the mail-in ballot, unless it has been rejected by it or by the Superior Court, marking the envelope so as to identify the election district in which the ballot contained therein is to be voted as indicated by the voter's home address appearing on the certificate attached to or accompanying the inner envelope and, in the case of ballots to be voted at a primary election for a general election, so as to identify the political party in the primary election of which it is to be voted.

The location at which a county board of elections determines whether a mail-in ballot shall be accepted or rejected shall be considered an election district for the purposes of appointment of challengers.

L.2009, c.79, s.17; amended 2011, c.134, s.55.

NJSA 19:63-18 Counting of mail-in ballots

18. The county board of elections shall count all valid mail-in ballots received thereby prior to the time designated by current law for the closing of the polls for each election.

L.2009, c.79, s.18.

NJSA 19:63-19 Mail-in ballot deemed valid

19. No mail-in ballot shall be rejected or declared invalid because it does not contain all of the names of the candidates or all of the public questions to be voted for in the election district in the election in which it is to be counted. A mail-in ballot shall be counted in determining the result of the election as to any office or public question, if the designation of the office and the name of the candidate for election to the office or the answer to such public question are indicated thereon to demonstrate the voter's choice.

L.2009, c.79, s.19.

NJSA 19:63-20 Mail-in voters, certain, not permitted to vote in person

20. a. Any person who has applied for a mail-in ballot and has had the mail-in ballot either delivered in person or forwarded by mail, and voted and returned the voted ballot to the county board, shall not be permitted to vote in person at the polling place in the voter's election district on the day of the election.

b. Any person who: (1) has applied for a mail-in ballot and not received either the ballot or an explanation for not receiving such a ballot pursuant to notification by the county clerk or from the free-access system established pursuant to section 5 of P.L.2004, c.88 (C.19:61-5) to provide such information; or (2) has applied for and received a mail-in ballot and has not transmitted it to the county board of elections or given it to a bearer for delivery to the county board before the time for the opening of the polls on the day of an election, shall be permitted to vote in person by provisional ballot at the polling place in the voter's election district on the day of the election.

L.2009, c.79, s.20.

NJSA 19:63-21 Rejection of ballot mailed in by voter subsequently deceased

21. Whenever the county board receives evidence that a mail-in voter who has marked and forwarded a mail-in ballot has died before the opening of the polls on the day of the election, the ballot shall be rejected by the board and retained by it in the same manner as provided by this act for other rejected ballots.

L.2009, c.79, s.21.

NJSA 19:63-22 Opening of mail-in ballots

22. On the day of each election each county board of elections shall open in the presence of the commissioner of registration, or the designee thereof, the inner envelopes that contain the mail-in ballots with the votes cast for the election. The inner envelopes containing the ballots that the board or the Superior Court has rejected shall not be so opened, but shall be retained as provided for by this act. The board shall then proceed to canvass the votes cast on the mail-in ballots, but no such ballot shall be counted in any primary election for the general election if the ballot of the political party marked for voting thereon differs from the designation of the political party in the primary election of which such ballot is intended to be voted as marked on the envelope by the county board of elections.

Immediately after the canvass is completed, the respective county boards of election shall certify the result of the canvass to the county clerk or the municipal or district clerk or other appropriate officer, as the case may be, showing the result of the canvass by municipality and ward. The votes thus canvassed shall be counted in determining the result of the election.

The county board of elections shall, immediately after the canvass is completed for any primary election, certify the results of the votes cast for members of the county committees to the respective municipal clerks, and those votes shall be counted in determining the result of the election.

L.2009, c.79, s.22; amended 2011, c.134, s.56.

NJSA 19:63-23 Marking in voting records to show mail-in ballots delivered

23. As soon as practicable after each election, the board of elections shall mark in the Statewide voter registration system and all duplicate voting records to show that mail-in ballots were delivered or forwarded to the respective registered voters. For each mail-in ballot that has been voted, received and counted, the board of elections shall also, by reference to the certificates removed from the inner envelopes of such ballots, place the word "Voted" in the space provided in the Statewide voter registration system and duplicate voting record for recording the ballot number of the voter's ballot in the election. In the case of the primary election for the general election, the board shall also cause to be noted in the proper space of the Statewide voter registration system or other record of voting form the first three letters of the name of the political party primary in which such ballot was voted. The record contained in the Statewide voter registration system and of voting forms in the original permanent registration binders shall be conformed to the foregoing entries in the duplicate forms.

L.2009, c.79, s.23; amended 2011, c.134, s.57.

NJSA 19:63-24 Board of elections to keep voted mail-in ballots and certifications for two years

24. The county board of elections shall keep, for two years, all of the requests and applications for mail-in ballots, all voted mail-in ballots, and all of the certificates that have been detached or separated by them from the inner envelopes. All inner envelopes together with their certificates, and the contents of those envelopes not opened by order of the county board or Superior Court, shall also be retained for the same period by the board. The superintendent of elections in counties having a superintendent of elections and the prosecutor in all other counties shall have the authority to impound all mail-in ballots whenever the superintendent or prosecutor, as may be appropriate, shall deem such action to be necessary.

L.2009, c.79, s.24.

NJSA 19:63-25 Powers exercised over mail-in voting

25. The county board of elections, the county clerk, the superintendent of elections and the commissioner of registration shall exercise the same powers over mail-in voting as over other voting in elections, except as otherwise provided by law.

L.2009, c.79, s.25.

NJSA 19:63-26 No election held invalid due to mail-in ballots

26. No election shall be held to be invalid due to any irregularity or failure in the preparation or forwarding of any mail-in ballots prepared or forwarded pursuant to the provisions of P.L.2009, c.79 (C.19:63-1 et al.).

L.2009, c.79, s.26.

NJSA 19:63-27 Ballot required to be sealed before delivery

27. No person shall take a mail-in ballot from a voter or other person having custody of it for the purpose of delivering it to the county board of elections or to a postal box or post office, nor shall any voter permit any person to do so, unless the ballot is sealed in the outer envelope and the person who transports or delivers it first signs and prints his or her name on the outer envelope. No other person shall attempt to do any of the foregoing.

L.2009, c.79, s.27.

NJSA 19:63-28 Violations, third degree crime; penalties

28. a. Any person who knowingly violates any of the provisions of P.L.2009, c.79 (C.19:63-1 et al.), or who, not being entitled to vote thereunder, fraudulently votes or attempts to vote thereunder, or enables or attempts to enable another person not entitled to vote thereunder to vote fraudulently thereunder, or who prevents or attempts to prevent by fraud the voting of any person legally entitled to vote under this act, or who shall knowingly certify falsely in any paper required under this act, or who, at any time, tampers with any ballot or document used in an election or interferes with the secrecy of the voting of any person, is guilty of a crime of the third degree, and upon conviction thereof shall be subject, in addition to such other penalties as are authorized by law, to disenfranchisement, unless and until pardoned or restored by law to the right of suffrage.

b.Any person who knowingly aids and abets another in violating any of the provisions of this section is guilty of a crime of the third degree and upon conviction thereof shall be subject, in addition to such other penalties as are authorized by law, to disenfranchisement, unless and until pardoned or restored by law to the right of suffrage.

L.2009, c.79, s.28; amended 2015, c.84, s.6.