Sussex County Clerk Jeff Parrott announced on Thursday that Vote-By-Mail (VBM) ballots for this year’s Primary Elections are being mailed this week to all registered Democrats and Republicans in compliance with Governor Murphy’s Executive Order #144. Voters who register after the initial mailing but before June 17 will also be mailed a ballot. Also under EO#144, Unaffiliated voters will be mailed a special Vote-By-Mail application for one-time use in this election; the application requires the voter to declare a party in order to be mailed a ballot. The applications will be mailed out beginning June 12. Unaffiliated voters need to complete and return this special EO#144 Application even if they already applied for a mail-in ballot using the standard application.
Voters who regularly vote by mail will notice that their Mail-In Ballot has a new look. “The ballot materials were redesigned to help simplify voting by mail,” said Parrott. “The voter has less to fill out and instructions are clear and easy to follow.”
When voters receive the VBM ballot, they should read the instructions provided and then vote their ballot using blue or black ink, and submit it right away in one of the following ways:
- Mail it in the postage-paid return envelope provided;
- Hand-deliver it to the County Board of Elections at 83 Spring Street, Suite 305 in Newton; or
- Deposit it in one of the secure/surveilled Ballot Drop Boxes that will be located at:
a) Hardyston Township Municipal Building
b) Hopatcong Borough Municipal Building
c) Newton Town Municipal Building
d) Sparta Township Municipal Building
e) Vernon Township Municipal Building
Polling places for this year’s Primary elections are limited, so voters may be assigned a new polling place for July 7. There will be no sample ballots mailed this year. Instead of sample ballots, voters will receive a postcard in the mail from the County Clerk with the location of their designated polling location should they choose to go to the polls and vote via provisional paper ballot. The postcards will be mailed the week after the close of voter registration, which is June 16th.
The list of available polling locations in Sussex County is posted to the County Clerk’s website at www.sussexcountyclerk.org/elections.
Voters who go to a polling location on July 7 will vote a provisional paper ballot. Voters with disabilities should call the County Clerk’s Office for an accessible ballot, or may choose to vote an audio ballot on an ADA-accessible voting machine at their assigned polling location.
Election-related deadlines are as follows:
- Final day to register to vote in time for the Primary Election: June 16
- Deadline for unaffiliated voters to APPLY by Mail for Primary Election Vote By Mail ballot: June 30
- Deadline for a walk-in to obtain a vote-by-mail ballot from the County Clerk: July 7
- Primary Election Day: July 7, polls open at 6 a.m. and close at 8 p.m.
- Deadline to mail/postmark or drop off a VBM ballot – July 7 at 8 p.m.
Voters who have questions about voting by mail in the July 7, 2020 primary elections are encouraged to call the County Clerk’s Office at 973-579-0900. Voters with questions about party affiliation, voter registration status, polling place assignment or drop box locations should contact the County Board of Elections at 973-579-0950.
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.
Due to COVID-19, New Jersey Elections are pushed to July 7th, and now will be Primarily Vote-By-Mail.
Mandatory Requirements and Standards for Admittance
- All visitors must wear a mask at all times.
- Please follow the recommended “6 feet apart” social distancing guidelines at all times.
In the Clerk’s Office:
- A MAXIMUM of 3 customers allowed at any given time in the lobby. Please wait in the hall if the maximum capacity is met.
In the Records Room:
- A MAXIMUM of 5 customers/professional title searchers (total) allowed at any given time.
Thank you for adhering to these requirements established to protect your health and the health of others.
Sussex County Clerk
U.S. Department of State
Bureau of Consular Affairs
Because of public health measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19, the Department of State has limited its U.S. passport operations. Our passport agencies are closed to the public and can only serve customers with a qualified life or death emergency and who need a passport for immediate international travel within 72 hours.
Customer can still apply at a passport acceptance facility for routine service only. However, Passport Services will not be able to meet its usual processing time of 6-8 weeks for routine service. Customers should expect significant delays beyond the time period it normally takes to receive their passport and citizenship evidence documents.
Passport Services ceased offering expedited service on March 19.
For the latest passport information on Passport Services operations, please visit our website at travel.state.gov or you can follow us at @travelgov on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
We thank you for your patience and understanding!
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:
- Governor Murphy signed Executive Order No. 144 on May 15, 2020 which encourages voting by mail in the July 7, 2020 Primary Election.
- 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.
- 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.
- As per Executive Order No. 144, the Clerk’s Office is providing a postage paid envelope for the return of Vote By Mail Ballots.
- 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
- Voters may not drop off their voted Mail-in Ballots at the polls on Election Day.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
Jeffrey M. Parrott
Sussex County Clerk
As of Monday, May 18, 2020 our Records Room will be open for PROFESSIONAL SEARCHES ONLY during the hours of 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.
All title searchers must wear a mask, gloves and it is suggested that you bring your own pencil. If you have any questions please contact our office at 973-579-0900.
Governor Murphy signed Executive Order 132 on Apr. 29, 2020, requiring that:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
We are aware that during this unprecedented time, one of the growing concerns is the expiration of notary commissions. At this time we remain closed to the public, however, our office is strategizing a way to ensure the safety of the public and employees while swearing in notaries so business can continue. As we receive information or direction from the NJ Department of Treasury we will update our website. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact our office M-F between 8 and 4 p.m.
Sussex County Clerk’s Office
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.