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

New Voter Group Scheduled To Receive Automatic Mail-In Ballots!

On August 28, 2019 Governor Murphy signed into law a bill that amended the 2018 Vote By Mail law and mandates that our office send a Vote By Mail* Ballot for the upcoming November 5 General Election to any voter who requested and received a Vote By Mail Ballot in any election held in 2017 or 2018. (S4069/A5759 P.L. 2019 c. 265)

*Vote By Mail Ballot includes paper ballots voted in person at the County Clerk’s Office.

This same law also mandates that our office automatically issue this group of voters a Vote By Mail Ballot in ALL FUTURE ELECTIONS — unless the voter informs our office in writing that they do not wish to receive Vote By Mail Ballots for all future elections.

Approximately 3,000 Sussex County voters are affected by this change in law. IF YOU ARE AFFECTED by the law, you should have received a notice from our office in mid-September advising you of your new “vote-by-mail status.” Our notice also included a form for you to “opt out” of remaining on this automatic vote-by-mail list. If you prefer to vote at the polls on Election Day, you should complete the “Opt Out” form and return it to the County Clerk’s Office by Sept. 25th. If you cannot meet that deadline, simply call our office ASAP to explain you want to opt off the list, but that your form will be arriving after the 25th. We will do our best to accommodate you. You should know that if you are mailed a Vote By Mail Ballot, you will not be permitted to vote on the voting machines at your polling place (because the poll book will show that you already received a mail-in ballot). The poll worker can only issue you a provisional ballot, which is essentially the same paper ballot that was mailed to you.

The Clerk’s Office is here to serve you. If you want to remain on the list to automatically receive mail-in ballots for all future elections, then you don’t need to do anything except sit back and wait for your ballot to arrive in the mail. However, if you prefer to vote at the polls, you must complete the Opt Out form and mail it back to our office ASAP so that we can remove your name from the automatic mailing list. Voters who “opt out” of receiving automatic ballots for every election, still reserve the right to request a mail-in ballot for any singular election of their choosing.

NOTE: If you are scheduled to receive a mail-in ballot automatically, but for some reason you do not receive your ballot in the mail, please call our office so we can look into your situation. We begin mailing ballots 45 days prior to Election Day. Please allow 5-7 days for delivery. Call 973-579-0900, ext. 1507 for more information.

Attention Military & Overseas Voters!

Update: Overseas mail will continue without issue.

You should return your voted November 5, 2019 General Election ballot before October 16.

Here’s why returning your ballot before October 16 is important for this election: The Universal Postal Union (UPU) is a worldwide body that establishes and agrees on international postal rates. The U.S. has announced it may pull out of the UPU. If we do, there will be no agreement for mail to be delivered to or from our country to any other country after October 16, 2019.

Although the U.S. Postal Service and others have been working on contingency plans, those plans are unlikely to be in place in time for military and overseas citizen (UOCAVA) voters to return their ballots in time for the November 2019 elections.

County Clerk Staff Donate to Nonprofits

Sussex County Clerk, Jeff Parrott is proud of his staff for their donation to three extremely worthwhile nonprofit organizations.  On Fridays the employees at the clerk’s office are given the option of wearing jeans for the small price of $2.00. That money added up to approximately $975.00 over the course of the year.  We chose to donate three checks in the amount of $325.00 each to Ginnie’s House, The Veteran’s Relief Fund in Hopatcong and the Sussex County Food Pantry.  Ms. Virginia Littell accepted the donation on behalf of Ginnie’s House. Mr. Mitch Ellicott accepted the donation on behalf of The Veteran’s Fund, and Mrs. Rita Oroho along with Mrs. Lisa Parrott accepted the donation on behalf of the Sussex County Food Pantry. All three of these organizations work diligently to provide support and hope to numerous Sussex County residents.

County Clerk staff with Ginnie Littell
County Clerk staff with Mitch Ellicott

National Passport Center experiencing processing delays

The standard processing time to apply for and obtain a U.S. Passport Book or Card has gone from 4-6 weeks to 6-8 weeks. Persons interested in foreign travel in need of a passport should allow for the current delay.

Applicants can still pay additional fees to expedite their passport application, with options of either a 3-4 week turnaround or as little as 2-3 weeks.

Depending on when you plan to apply and how many persons are in your party, an appointment may be necessary.

Visit our PASSPORT site for more information on obtaining a passport book or card, or call the Clerk’s Office at 973-579-0900 for more information.

Want to run as an Independent candidate this November?

If you’re planning on running as an independent candidate in the 2019 November General Election, you will have to file your direct petition with the County Clerk no later than 4 p.m. June 4th.

Direct petitions are available to candidates not participating in the county’s June 4 Primary elections. Petitions can be picked up between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. from the Sussex County Clerk’s Office, 83 Spring Street, Suite 304 in the Cochran House Professional Bldg in Newton. Call 973-579-0900 for more information.