Prudential Center to serve as polling site for November election

Newark’s Prudential Center will function as “a super polling site” for the upcoming 2020 presidential election, Newark Mayor Ras Baraka announced on Monday.

The venue, which usually hosts Seton Hall Men’s Basketball and New Jersey Devils games, will also serve as a census center and host a voter registration drive and census event on Sept. 22.  

The arena, which can seat up to 19,500 people, will have six to eight voting booths, Linda Von Nessi, clerk for the Essex County Board of Elections told TAP into Newark.  

Essex County officials said the Prudential Center is big enough to fit people from more Newark voting districts while still allowing for social distancing. It is currently unclear exactly which districts will be able to vote at the location.

In-person voting polls will open at 6 a.m. and close at 8 p.m. on Nov. 3. 

The arena will also have a drop box outside for Newark voters to drop off their mail-in ballots. 

Chris Coppola, a senior Spanish major, said he believes in-person voting should be expanded.

“Given that the states surrounding New Jersey have the option to vote in person or vote by mail, I believe New Jersey should give us that option as well,” Coppola said. “New York created multiple super polling sites and given the multiple cases of fraud in NJ’s primary which was solely vote by mail, I don’t trust the integrity of a fully vote-by-mail election.”

All registered voters in New Jersey will receive a mail-in ballot and can vote by mail without a specific reason. Voters can pick up their mail-in ballots outside the Prudential Center seven days before the election if they do not receive them in the mail. 

Voters can mail in their ballots from their home mailbox, local post office, hand-deliver it to their county clerk’s office or drop it off at a drop box, such as the one that will be outside the Prudential Center.  

New Jersey voters will also be able to request a mail-in ballot and track their ballot on a new state website. The website, which requires users to enter their driver’s license number, state ID number or social security number, will also allow voters to check their voter registration status.  

“This online form is safe and secure and can be accessed anywhere—whether from a library computer or your smartphone,” said New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy.  

The website will let voters track their ballot in the mail until it arrives at their election board to ensure that it arrives on time.  

While New Jersey voters will not be able to vote early in-person like voters in other states such as New York, they will still be able to submit their mail-in ballots before election day.

Mail-in ballots must be postmarked by Election Day, Nov. 3, and the County Clerk’s office must receive them by Nov. 8 at 8 p.m. to be counted. Additionally, the County Clerks that receive ballots without a postmark within 48 hours of the polls closing will also count. 

Voters must be registered by Oct. 13 to vote.  

To learn more about New Jersey voting regulations, check voter status, or request an absentee ballot, visit https://www.vote.org/state/new-jersey/.  

Rylee Nelson can be reached at rylee.nelson@shu.student.edu

Author: Staff Writer

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