Author: Angela Rosa

Sussex County Ballot Drop Box Locations

  1. Andover Borough Municipal Building
  2. Andover Township Municipal Building
  3. Frankford Township Municipal Building
  4. Franklin Borough Municipal Building
  5. Fredon Township Civic Center
  6. Hardyston Township Municipal Building
  7. Hopatcong Borough Municipal Building
  8. Montague Township Municipal Building
  9. Newton Municipal Building
  10. Sandyston Township Municipal Building
  11. Sparta Township Municipal Building
  12. Vernon Township Municipal Building
  13. Wantage Township Municipal Building

The ballot boxes will be monitored (security camera surveillance) and will have daily pickups by the County Board of Elections.

For the July 7 Elections, Unaffiliated Voters Must Declare a Party on their Vote By Mail Application

Unaffiliated registered voters in New Jersey are all going to receive an Application To Vote By Mail from their County Clerk.

The application mailed by your County Clerk was designed by the NJ Division of Elections under Executive Order #144 and is specific to the July 7, 2020 Primary Elections. If you are an unaffiliated voter and you want to vote by mail in the July 7 Primary, you need to complete and return this EO#144 application as soon as possible — EVEN IF YOU ALREADY submitted a regular Vote By Mail Ballot Application. The regular application used to request a mail-in ballot cannot be used for the July 7 primaries. The EO#144 application will not cost the voter anything to mail, it comes in the form a prepaid postage mailer.

Under normal conditions, unaffiliated voters could apply for a Vote By Mail Ballot and not declare a party choice.

However, the July 7 Primary Elections are not being conducted under normal conditions. On May 15, 2020 Governor Murphy issued Executive Order #144 which stipulated in part that unaffiliated voters would be mailed a special Vote By Mail Application by their County Clerk. This special application only applies to the July 7 primary. The application requires that the voter declare a party in advance of being mailed their ballot, so that only one ballot is mailed. So, if you are unaffiliated and want to receive a mail-in ballot, you MUST complete and return the Special Application issued under Executive Order #144 in order to receive a ballot by mail.

The application to vote by mail under Executive Order #144 is a one-time request specific to the July 7 Primaries; you will not be required to vote by mail in future elections.

Unaffiliated voters who do not receive a mail-in ballot can vote a provisional paper ballot at their assigned polling place on Election Day.

Letter to Voters From County Clerk Jeff Parrott

Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, voting in NJ’s Primary Elections will look different this year. Here’s what voters need to know:

  1. Governor Murphy signed Executive Order No. 144 on May 15, 2020 which encourages voting by mail in the July 7, 2020 Primary Election.
  2. The order requires the County Clerk to send all Democratic and Republican registered voters a Vote-by-Mail Ballot for the upcoming July 7 election. Ballots will be mailed on or around June 12th.
  3. Unaffiliated registered voters will receive a special application to vote by mail from the County Clerk; if unaffiliated voters want to participate in the Primary Election they are encouraged to complete and return the application to the County Clerk, instructing the Clerk which party’s ballot they want mailed. These applications will be mailed out in mid-June.
  4. As per Executive Order No. 144, the Clerk’s Office is providing a postage paid envelope for the return of Vote By Mail Ballots.
  5. Voters who don’t want to mail their ballot can choose to:
    a) Hand deliver their ballot to the County Board of Elections; those ballots must be delivered to the board by 8 p.m. on Election Day; or
    b) Deposit their ballot in one of five secure drop boxes located throughout the county beginning June 16. The drop boxes will have daily pickups. The deadline to deposit your ballot in a drop box is 8 p.m. Election Day. Drop boxes will be available at:
    1. Vernon Township Municipal Building
    2. Hardyston Township Municipal Building
    3. Sparta Township Municipal Building
    4. Hopatcong Borough Municipal Building
    5. Newton Town Municipal Building
  6. Voters may not drop off their voted Mail-in Ballots at the polls on Election Day.
  7. Voters who go the polls on Election Day will be issued a Provisional Paper Ballot; only voters with disabilities will have access to ADA-accessible voting machines.
  8. The number of polling places available to voters on Election Day will be limited. A list of polling places is available at www.sussex.nj.us.
  9. Since polling places have been reduced, many voters will be assigned a new polling place just for the July 7 election. Normally, voters receive a sample ballot 1-2 weeks prior to Election Day letting them know where their polling place is located. For this July 7 election, instead of a sample ballot, voters will receive a postcard/notice in the mail letting them know where their polling place is and where they can view a sample ballot.
  10. The deadline of 3 p.m. July 6 to apply in person for a mail-in ballot is suspended. In-person applications will be accepted up to 8 p.m. July 7, 2020.

On behalf of the Sussex County Clerk’s Office, I thank you for your time and consideration. We know that this is a difficult time for most and that adjusting to change isn’t always easy — and there are a lot of changes in place for the July 7 Primary. I’m hoping the above information helps clarify things. Please know that my staff and I are here to meet your voting needs. If you have questions about voting by mail, I encourage you to call our office at 973-579-0900.

Sincerely,
Jeffrey M. Parrott
Sussex County Clerk

Electronic petitions to be made available for Referenda and Initiatives

Governor Murphy signed Executive Order 132 on Apr. 29, 2020, requiring that:

  1. In addition to accepting hand delivery of initiative and referendum petitions, county clerks and municipal clerks shall allow for these petitions to be submitted electronically.
  2. The county clerks and municipal clerks shall also accept petitions with signatures collected via an online form. A generic template of this form shall be created by the Secretary of State, in consultation with the Department of Law and Public Safety. This form shall be available for use by May 1, 2020.
  3. Following the availability of the online template form, the county clerks and municipal clerks shall require that signatures be gathered via the online template form. Hand signatures obtained prior to the effective date of this Order shall also be accepted.

Attention Notaries!

If your notary public certificate is nearing expiration or just recently expired, and you are unable to be sworn in due to County Clerk closures statewide, please note that the State of New Jersey has notified us that there is pending legislation to address this matter. No details are available yet, but we will update this post as soon as information becomes available.

SBA Loans Available To Help Small Businesses

Economic Injury Disaster Loans and Loan Advance

To apply for a COVID-19 Economic Injury Disaster Loan, click here.

In response to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, small business owners in all U.S. states, Washington D.C., and territories are eligible to apply for an Economic Injury Disaster Loan advance of up to $10,000.

The SBA’s Economic Injury Disaster Loan program provides small businesses with working capital loans of up to $2 million that can provide vital economic support to small businesses to help overcome the temporary loss of revenue they are experiencing. The loan advance will provide economic relief to businesses that are currently experiencing a temporary loss of revenue. Funds will be made available within three days of a successful application, and this loan advance will not have to be repaid.

To APPLY… https://covid19relief.sba.gov/#/

Are you ready for the 2020 June Primary?

If it’s been a while since you’ve voted in a New Jersey Primary Election, you may want to confirm a few things about your voter registration status well in advance of heading to the polls. Some things to consider are:

  1. Am I registered to vote at my current address?
  2. Am I affiliated with a particular party?
  3. Am I happy with my current affiliation, or do I want to change it?

New Jersey’s primary elections won’t take place until June 2nd, which means undecided voters still have plenty of time to choose their favorite candidates. But before voters head to the ballot box, they should take steps to confirm their party affiliation status to ensure the ballot they’re handed on Election Day is the one they’re expecting.

You see, New Jersey’s primary elections are “closed” – which means that only registered voters affiliated with either the Democratic or Republican parties can participate in those primaries. It also means that voters who are registered as “Republican” will only be allowed to vote a ballot containing Republican candidates, and voters registered as “Democrat” will only be able to vote a ballot containing Democratic candidates. Voters cannot change parties on Election Day and ask for the other party’s ballot.

New Jersey election law specifies that party affiliation can only be changed up to 55 days before Primary Election Day. For the 2020 Primary, that means you need to confirm your party by April 8th.

The only voters allowed to make a last-minute party selection are voters registered with unaffiliated status. Unaffiliated voters have the option of affiliating with one of the two political parties on Election Day simply by choosing to vote in that party’s primary. Once you choose a primary to vote in, your voter registration is updated to reflect your new party affiliation and you will remain affiliated with that party unless and until you request a change back to unaffiliated status after the election. This is why some voters show up at the polls on Election Day asking for the ballot of one party, only to find out they’re affiliated with the other party; they forgot that they voted in a past primary, thereby affiliating themselves. Some voters have also unknowingly affiliated themselves with a party during the process of obtaining their driver license, while registering through the MVC.

Voters who are registered members of the Green Party, Libertarian Party, Natural Law Party, Reform Party, U.S. Constitution Party or the Conservative Party will not have the option of voting in either the Democratic or Republican primaries, unless they choose to change their party designation by April 8th.

If you’re not sure of your party affiliation status, you can call the County Board of Elections at 973-579-0950. Voters can declare or change their party affiliation by completing one of two forms: a Party Affiliation Form or a Voter Registration Form. Both forms must be submitted to the County Board of Elections no later than 55 days prior to Election Day. Mail or deliver forms to Sussex County Board of Elections, 83 Spring St., Suite 305, Newton, NJ 07860.

Overseas mail will continue without issue

There were concerns earlier this month that overseas voters might have trouble mailing their ballots back to the U.S. due to talk that the United States might pull out of the Universal Postal Union (UPU).

However, on September 25th, a compromise agreement was reached that will address a currently unfair payment system for the international exchange of small packets.

The agreement will also enable the United States to remain in the UPU, with the Postal Service as its designated operator.

In response to this agreement, Postmaster General Megan J. Brennan issued the following statement:

“The Postal Service would like to thank President Trump for his leadership in helping us to negotiate the resolution of an intractable problem with the payment system for the international exchange of small packets that has persisted over many years, and that has been extremely difficult to resolve. We are very pleased that the member countries of the Universal Postal Union have reached an agreement that accommodates the concerns of the United States and other countries with that payment system.

“The United States and other countries’ concerns have been addressed by allowing the Postal Service to self-declare its rates beginning in July 2020, while operators from other countries will transition to self-declared rates at phased levels over the next six years. The proposal adopted by the Universal Postal Union is aimed at eliminating economic distortions for the distribution of goods, by establishing parity with comparable domestic services for inbound packet volumes.

“The outcome of the UPU negotiations will also enable the Postal Service to support infrastructure development abroad that builds capacity for advance electronic customs data transmission and improvements in postal security. The safety, sanctity and security of the mail are of paramount importance to the Postal Service, so we appreciate that the agreement reached today includes concrete steps to ensure that the world’s posts will be better positioned to provide data from their customers that will help to reduce the use of the international mail system to transport dangerous contraband and counterfeit goods into the United States.

“We are also grateful for the laser focus and concerted efforts of the Trump administration team, led by Dr. Peter Navarro, on these important issues. Through our collective efforts, and the spirit of cooperation and compromise that was demonstrated by the International Bureau and the participating nations at the Extraordinary Congress, we believe that the global network for the international transportation and delivery of mail will work more effectively, and in a fashion which is fundamentally more fair to all participants in the system.”

Megan J. Brennan
Postmaster General & CEO