Hudson County officials have unveiled plans for early voting in November’s election, which will use new voting equipment.
Earlier this year, Gov. Phil Murphy signed legislation establishing early voting. Residents can cast their ballots ahead of the Nov. 2 election, from Oct. 23 to 31.
Where to vote early
The early voting booths, at ten places in the county, are open Mondays through Saturdays, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.; Sundays, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Jersey City’s four early voting booths are: the Hank Gallo Community Center at Lincoln Park, the Moose Lodge at 60 West Side Ave., Pershing Field Community Center at 816 Summit Ave., and City Hill at 280 Grove St. in the ground-floor council caucus room.
In Bayonne, the early voting booth will be at City Hall at 630 Ave. C in the council chambers. In Hoboken, it will be at City Hall at 94 Washington St. in the first floor conference room via the Newark St. entrance.
In North Bergen, it will be at Town Hall, 4233 Kennedy Blvd. in the commissioners’ chambers. In West New York, it will be at the Sunshine Garden Community Room, 515 54th St.
In Union City, it will be at the Mobile Trailers, 410 27th St. In Kearny, it will be at Town Hall, 402 Kearny Ave. in the first-floor records room.
City Halls were chosen due to the secure locations and the convenience of city clerks’ offices in the same buildings.
New voting equipment
To facilitate early voting, the county had to buy new equipment, Hudson County Clerk E. Junior Maldonado said at a press conference on Oct. 6. This equipment includes 139 electronic voter machines from Election Systems and Software (ES&S) and 1,098 electronic poll books. Officials showed off the new tech purchased through a state grant at the press conference.
The electronic poll book quickly identifies registered voters by their names, addresses, and birth years. Voters sign their names, which are subsequently confirmed by poll workers before voter activation cards are issued.
The voting machine identifies the voter’s district and ward through the voter activation card before the machine creates a ballot. Voters can cast their votes in English or Spanish, and the completed ballot is printed and stored in the machine. The machinery, which can handle any ballot style, was tested in Guttenberg in 2019 without hiccups, officials said.
Maldonado said officials are aiming for an early voting turnout rate of anywhere from 10 to 15 percent. However, that number could be lower due to this being the first year of early voting in New Jersey.
Other ways to vote
Residents can cast their ballots on Election Day or can vote by mail. To vote by mail, residents must request a mail-in ballot. As of Oct. 1, Hudson County had 416,571 registered voters.
Poll worker shortages in Hudson County and throughout the state were evident during the primary elections in June. But the county is banking on college students hoping to make extra money before the holiday season, including students at New Jersey City University and Saint Peter’s University.
For updates on this and other stories, check www.hudsonreporter.com and follow us on Twitter @hudson_reporter. Daniel Israel can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.