The New Jersey Secretary of State is responsible for elections and voter registration for New Jersey residents. Their website provides detailed information about the registration process.
To register in New Jersey you must be:
- A United States citizen
- At least 17 years old, but may not vote until reaching the age of 18 (You may register while you are still 17 so long as you will be 18 by the next election).
- A resident of the county for 30 days before the election
- NOT currently serving a sentence, probation or parole because of a felony conviction
The following is adapted from: https://www.brennancenter.org/analysis/student-voting-guide-new-jersey
You may register to vote either in person or by mail.
Registration forms are available online, as well as variety of locations across New Jersey, including: the Division of Elections,local election offices, municipal clerks offices, and DMV offices, and most state, county, and local social services agencies.
The registration deadline is 21 days before Election Day.
For 2017 New Jersey Primaries, the voter registration deadline is May 16th. New Jersey law does not specify when mailed registration forms must be postmarked or received; it is advisable to mail your form such that it is received 21 days before Election Day. We recommend getting your form in the mail by May 8th.
Residency (see the FAQ for questions about how where you register to vote can and cannot affect you):
At School. Students can establish residency in New Jersey if they have a present intention to remain at their New Jersey school address for the time being, and they intend to make it their principal home. Any other interpretation of the residency laws is unconstitutional. New Jersey election officials make clear that “[if] you are in college, you have the option to register from your college address or your parent’s address.”
In New Jersey, you can vote from your college address as long as you have lived there for at least 30 days before the election.
At Home: If you lived in New Jersey before moving out of state to attend school, but you wish to establish or keep your New Jersey voting residency (i.e., at your parents’ New Jersey address), you should have no problem doing so unless you have already registered to vote in another state.
Challenges to Residency: Students have the right to vote as a resident of New Jersey regardless of your student status or whether you pay in-state or out-of-state tuition. Any challenge made solely on the basis of your student or tuition status is invalid. If election officials determine that you have not met New Jersey’s residency requirements, they can deny your registration, but they must notify you of the denial.
If your right to vote is challenged, you will be asked to establish your eligibility to vote at the polls. You are still entitled to vote if you sign an affidavit and present one of the following forms of identification: (1) a valid New Jersey driver’s license; (2) a sample ballot with your name and current address; (3) an official federal, state, or local government document with your name and current address; (4) a dated utility or telephone bill; (5) a tax or rent receipt; (5) or a piece of mail postmarked to your current address within 60 days of the election.
If the poll workers deny you the right to vote, you can appeal to a judge on Election Day.Your appeal may be made orally and does not require paperwork or a lawyer. If, after a full hearing, the judge finds in your favor, you will be allowed to vote that same day.
Most New Jersey voters do not need to show ID when voting. However, if you are a first-time New Jersey voter who registered by mail, and election officials could not verify your identifying numbers (your New Jersey driver’s license or ID number or the last four digits of your Social Security number), you will have to provide proof of identification, either at the polls or anytime before Election Day.
Sufficient proof of identity includes any current and valid photo ID, or a copy of a current utility bill, bank statement, government check, paycheck, car registration, non-photo driver’s license, rent receipt, sample ballot, utility bill (including cell phone and student housing bills), or other government document that shows the name and address of the voter.
You may also submit a copy of any of these forms of ID with your registration application, or at any time to your local election office. If you are required to show ID and cannot, you can still cast a provisional ballot, but your vote will only be counted if you bring your ID to a county elections office within two days after the election.
Vote by Mail
Any New Jersey voter may vote by mail. You must apply to vote by mail, either in person or by mail. Vote-by-mail ballot applications are available for download on the New Jersey Division of Elections website. If you submit your application by mail, the county clerk must receive it at least seven days before the election. You may apply in person at your county clerk’s office until 3 p.m. the day before the election. Once you have filled out your completed mail ballot, you must submit it, either in person or by mail, to the board of elections for your county. The board must receive your ballot by the close of the polls on Election Day.