A new absentee ballot drop box has been placed in South Orange Village as part of New Jersey’s wide-ranging effort to assist and accommodate mail-in voters ahead of November’s election.
The drop box is located in the gazebo on Sloan Street standing near South Orange Station. Starting Friday, the drop box will be available for use and ballots will be collected from the box every day.
Resident voters now have the option to directly submit their absentee ballots into the drop box rather than mailing in their ballots via the post office, handing their ballots to poll workers or filling out provisional ballots at their local polling places.
Absentee ballot drop boxes like this one are being installed in every county in New Jersey. According to Essex County Clerk Christopher Durkin, 24 boxes have been installed in Essex County so far.
Though the drop boxes are currently intended for general election ballots only, they are here to stay.
“The boxes are permanent, and will be used for all future public elections, including school board elections and primary elections,” Durkin said. “This is a great service to the voter.”
Deputy Village Clerk Joycelyn White said Essex County and South Orange Village made sure to place the drop box in a “safe and secure location.” Security cameras monitor the box 24/7.
Like all ballot drop boxes in Essex County, the Village’s drop box is specifically intended for the use of Essex County residents.
“We prefer that Essex County voters only put their ballots in Essex County drop boxes,” Durkin said.
Instructions are posted on the surface of the drop box in English and Spanish and detail its function, usage guidelines and the penalties for damaging or tampering with the box.
Regarding the installation of the drop boxes, Durkin said Essex County “helped quite a bit selecting locations and installing 24 hour security cameras.”
“This is a safe and secure place to drop off your vote if you cannot make it to the post office or are hesitant to use the post office,” White said. “We want your vote to count.”
Brian Reilly, a sophomore secondary education major, said he plans on using the Village’s new ballot drop box.
“I think the [absentee] ballot boxes that are being installed are great,” Reilly said. “They provide a great alternative to people who do not want to rely on the post office, but at the same time do not want to vote in person.”
All absentee ballot drop boxes, including the one installed in South Orange Village, will be available for use until 8 p.m. on Election Day.
Voters must be registered to vote by Oct. 13 to receive a ballot by mail. The application for a vote-by-mail ballot must be received by the county clerk seven days prior to the election.
Residents of Newark will be able to submit their ballots in person at a “super polling site” set up in the Prudential Center from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Nov. 3. A mail-in ballot drop box will also be located outside the arena.
To view the locations of New Jersey’s absentee ballot drop boxes, visit https://www.state.nj.us/state/elections/vote-secure-drop-boxes.shtml.
For more information on New Jersey voting regulations and how to vote in New Jersey, visit https://www.vote.org/state/new-jersey/.
Louis Motta can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.