NEW VOTING AREAS
In 2020 a Census was taken in the United States, which resulted in changes to many voting areas. To fully understand these changes, there are four important facts to keep in mind:
#1 – The 2020 Census counted ALL people– meaning all people from newborns to those over 100. There was no count for the purpose of the Census of how many people in a given area were registered to vote or who met the qualifications to register to vote; in this respect, the Census process had nothing to do with voter registration.
#2 – The need to establish new voting area boundary lines – Districts, Wards, etc. – is not discretionary. New Jersey statutes decree exactly when boundary lines must be moved based on the population. The statutes also describe who makes the new boundary line determinations, which are discretionary.
#3 – The establishment of or any change in the boundary lines of a Ward in any municipality is determined by the total number of people living in that Ward. However, if the boundary line of a Ward is changed, the boundary lines of the voting Districts within that Ward must also be changed, that that boundary line change IS based on the number of registered voters.
#4 – When Ward or District boundary lines are changed, voters may not only have a new voting location, but also new candidates on their ballots. All municipal Ward and District boundary line changes resulting from the 2020 Census must be approved and the maps signed by the County Boards of Election not later than March 24, 2022.
While any changes in the Congressional District boundary lines, the County Commission boundary lines, and the Municipal Ward and District boundary lines should be communicated to the voters by their respective public bodies, each voter bears the responsibility to determine exactly how the 2020 census has affected local voting locations and candidates.
By early April, the County Boards of Elections in New Jersey also must approve the Early Voting locations in each County for the Primary election which will take place on June 7, 2022. These early voting sites will be the same for the General Election in November. The number of early voting sites required and which the state will pay for is determined by the State based on the County’s voting population. Each County may establish as many additional voting sites as it deems appropriate, but the County must bear the full costs of all sites beyond what the State has established.
The locations of the Primary Election Early Voting sites will be announced by the County Boards of Elections in early April. Early voting will occur 3 days prior to the June 7th Primary Election – on June 3, 4 and 5. The hours will be Friday – Saturday, 10:00am – 8:00pm and Sunday, 10:00am – 6:00pm. The good news about early voting is that all voters casting a vote in person through the early voting process will be presented with a voting screen which will reflect all new voting boundary lines for that voter.