Election Day is still six weeks away, but voting in New Jersey is about to begin as county officials begin mailing ballots to an estimated 900,000 voters who can return them immediately.

Saturday is the day counties must begin mailing out paper ballots, which have become more popular as a form of voting in recent years. About 900,000 people, or about 15% of all registrants, automatically receive a postal ballot for each election. Others may request a ballot for this election or all future elections until filling out the form and return it to your district secretary.

Twelve state seats in the US House of Representatives are up for election this year. Democrats control 10 of those seats. But in midterm elections, the president’s party usually loses seats in Congress. And after redistricting reshuffled all districts at least to some extent to account for population changes, Republicans could pick up one or more seats.

Now, when people are about to start voting, others are registering. This week, a number of organizations and colleges in particular celebrated National Voter Registration Day with events across the state. Although New Jersey has automatic voter registration through state motor vehicle agencies, many eligible voters are not registered to vote, and registration drives help get more people, especially young people, to vote. .

“We know that in New Jersey, voter turnout and youth registration have been higher in recent years than in the past,” said Alicia D’Alessandro, a spokeswoman for Secretary of State Tahesha Way.

We are looking for young voters

Each year, the Ballot Bowl, which this year features 27 colleges and universities trying to register the most voters, attracts “thousands of college students who wouldn’t sign up if their peers didn’t ask them to,” D’Alessandro added. .

In addition to students, separate data suggest more women are registering, election officials say, although the state does not track voter registration by gender. The US Supreme Court’s decision in June to strike down abortion rights across the country is seen as one of the main reasons for this.

“Voters, especially women and young voters, showed at the registration tables that they were motivated to vote because of reproductive rights,” said Jessie Burns, executive director of the League of Women Voters of New Jersey. “We also hear a lot of people who say they are motivated by threats to voting rights.”

New Jersey residents have a number of other ways to register, including visiting the county clerk’s office and filling out a form or using online state form.

D’Alessandro said New Jersey’s membership in the National Electronic Registration Information Center (ERIC), which should be fully implemented early next year, will also help target people who are eligible to vote but not yet registered. Many county officials and legislators have urged the state to join ERIC to help better preserve voter rolls. Since states share information through the center, it makes it easier to find people who have moved out of state. But it also provides an opportunity to reach out to people who have moved to the state and give them a chance to sign up.

“It also allows us to identify every person in New Jersey who is eligible to be a voter and is not currently registered,” she said. “It’s going to help us reach those people to say, ‘Hey, did you know you can become a New Jersey voter if you want to?'”

Forgot to register on the same day?

One option that will soon be available to New Jersey residents is same-day voter registration. According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, 21 states and the District of Columbia allow people to register before election day and vote in that election. Montana and North Carolina allow people to register and vote on the same day during early voting, but not on Election Day.

A number of organizations have pushed for same-day registration in New Jersey for years, but the measure never made it to the governor. Senate President Nicholas Scutari (D-Union) opposes the bill, saying he doesn’t see the need for it and that it could hurt candidates’ ability to reach potential voters.

Democrats continue to outnumber Republicans on New Jersey voter rolls by more than 1 million, data shows September voter registration update. According to the data, nearly four in 10 registered voters are Democrats, outnumbering Republicans, who make up about one in five; non-party voters — 36%.

The last day to register to vote in this year’s New Jersey general election is October 18, and county offices are staying open late.

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