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Siperstein Library: Voting Resources

Changes to Voting Procedure

Important!!

The COVID-19 Pandemic has changed the voting process.  Normally, voting takes place in person at local polling locations if you are living in New Jersey. If you are living out of state, you can apply for an absentee ballot.

Regarding the upcoming presidential election: Governor Phil Murphy signed an executive order to allow voting to take place primarily by mail. Everyone is registered to vote should receive a ballot in the mail in early October. 

If you are not registered to vote and you will be 18 by November 3rd, register online here by October 13th.

Am I registered?

Not sure if you already registered to vote? Click here to double check! 

Eligibility

To register to vote in New Jersey, you must be:

  • A United States citizen 
  • At least 17 years old, though you may not vote until you have reached the age of 18
  • A resident of the county for 30 days before the election
  • A person NOT currently serving a sentence, probation or parole because of a felony conviction

 

Going Away to College?

If you will be out of state for an election, apply to a receive an absentee or mail in ballot here. The deadline is 7 days before the election.

Questions?

How to register--Online

New Jersey has just unveiled their online voting registration system.  Click HERE to register.

Please be aware! You must have one of the following documents to register to vote:

a Driver's Licence issued by the state of New Jersey

OR

a non-driver ID card issued by the state of New Jersey 

OR

a Social Security Number (if you pick this option you'll have to sign your registration form electronically).

Follow the instructions to fill out the four part application. It's that easy!

How to Register--Mail

Forms are available on NJ's Department of State Website. Be sure to print out the form that corresponds to the county where you reside. Fill out the form and put it in the mail--no postage needed. Be aware:the deadline is 21 days before the election.

How to Register--DMV

You can also register to vote when you get your driver’s license or state ID from the DMV. They will send your information to the Department of State on your behalf. Please note, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, DMVs may be closed or only open to limited service. Check the DMV's website before you go!

How to vote-- Mail In Ballots

This year, in NJ, we will be participating in a mail-in election. If you are registered to vote, you should receive a ballot by early to mid October. 

Once you receive your ballot, fill it out according to the instructions (similar to a Scantron: use a standard blue or black pen!) and put it in the mail.

 

Your ballot must be postmarked November 3rd for your vote to count!!

How to Vote--Primaries

A primary is how political parties choose their candidate for an election. In most states, including New Jersey, only the members of the party can vote in the primary. For example, only voters registered as Democrats can vote in the Democratic primary in June. In New Jersey, you are allowed to choose a political party when you register, or whenever you'd like, up to the day of the primary.

A polling location, New York, 1900.

How to Vote-- in person elections

Before you go:

Look up your polling place & hours. (here) Most polling places are open from 6AM to 8PM.

When you arrive at your polling location: 

There should be signs directing you “vote here”.  Follow the signs, as most polling locations are schools or other institutions in large buildings. When you find the right room, there should be several people at a table, or multiple tables, with lists of names. ***If you are not on the list, check to see if you have the right location.*** Once it’s your turn, approach the table and give your name to the volunteer at the desk.

IMPORTANT NOTE: In the state of New Jersey, you DO NOT need to show any form of ID to vote. It’s illegal to bar eligible people from voting. If this happens to you, try asking another volunteer for help, or leave and come back later. You can also call (866) OUR-VOTE to speak to a lawyer about your rights.

Once you give your name, the volunteer will look you up in their roster. You will have to sign in and confirm the information (your name and address) on their roster. 

Then you will be shown to a voting booth, which is a little cubicle that holds a voting machine. The cubicle should have a little curtain for privacy.

ANOTHER NOTE: Voting machines can look very different from state to state, or county to county. Some machines require a paper ballot, some are completely computerized. If you can’t figure out how your machine works, ask a volunteer for help. Don’t forget to cast your ballot!

Books on Voting

The Voting Rights War: The NAACP and the Ongoing Struggle for Justice

The Voting Rights War tells the story of the courageous struggle to achieve voting equality through more than one hundred years of work by the NAACP at the Supreme Court. Readers take the journey for voting rights from slavery to the Plessy v. Ferguson case that legalized segregation in 1896 through today's conflicts around voter suppression. The NAACP brought important cases to the Supreme Court that challenged obstacles to voting: grandfather clauses, all-White primaries, literacy tests, gerrymandering, vote dilution, felony disenfranchisement, and photo identification laws.

Our Time Is Now: power, purpose, and the fight for a fair America

"A recognized expert on fair voting and civic engagement, Abrams chronicles a chilling account of how the right to vote and the principle of democracy have been and continue to be under attack. Abrams would have been the first African American woman governor, but experienced these effects firsthand, despite running the most innovative race in modern politics as the Democratic nominee in Georgia. Abrams didn't win, but she has not conceded . . . argues for the importance of robust voter protections, an elevation of identity politics, engagement in the census, and a return to moral international leadership"--Publisher.

Stolen Justice: the struggle for African American voting rights

"In this . . . portrait of the systematic suppression of the African American vote, . . . author Lawrence Goldstone traces the injustices of the post-Reconstruction era through the eyes of . . . individuals, both heroic and barbaric, and examines the legal cases that made the Supreme Court a partner of white supremacists in the rise of Jim Crow"--Publisher.

Uncounted: the crisis of voter suppression in the United States

"Examines the phenomenon of disenfranchisement through the lens of history, race, law, and the democratic process. Argues that voter suppression works in cycles, constantly adapting and finding new ways to hinder access for an exponentially growing minority population"--Publisher

On Account of Race: the Supreme Court, white supremacy, and the ravaging of African American voting rights

"Beginning in 1876, the Court systematically dismantled both the equal protection guarantees of the Fourteenth Amendment, at least for African-Americans, and what seemed to be the guarantee of the right to vote in the Fifteenth.  'On Account of Race' tells the story of an American tragedy, the only occasion in United States history in which a group of citizens who had been granted the right to vote then had it stripped away. Even more unjust was that this theft of voting rights was done with full approval, even the sponsorship, of the United States Supreme Court"--Publisher.

Jailed for Freedom: American women win the vote

A firsthand account of the National Woman’s Party, which organized and fought a fierce battle for passage of the 19th Amendment. The suffragists endured hunger strikes, forced feedings, and jail terms. First written in 1920 by Doris Stevens, this version was edited by Carol O’Hare. Includes an introduction by Smithsonian curator Edith Mayo, along with appendices, an index, historic photos, and illustrations. - Publisher

Give Us the Ballot: the modern struggle for voting rights in America

"On the fiftieth anniversary of the Voting Rights Act, an...account of the continuing battle over Americans' right to vote"--Provided by publisher.

Thank You for Voting: the maddening, enlightening, inspiring truth about voting in America

"In this concise, lively look at the past, present, and future of voting, a journalist examines the long and continuing fight for voting equality, why so few Americans today vote, and innovative ways to educate and motivate them; included are checklists of what to do before election day to prepare to vote and encourage others"--OCLC.

One Person, No Vote: how voter suppression is destroying our democracy

". . . chronicles [the] history [of] the rollbacks to African American participation in the vote since the 2013 Supreme Court decision that eviscerated the Voting Rights Act of 1965. Known as the Shelby ruling, this decision effectively allowed districts with a demonstrated history of racial discrimination to change voting requirements without approval from the Department of Justice"--Dust jacket.

The Woman's Hour: the great fight to win the vote

Explores the history of the battle for women's right to vote in the United States.

Why Don't Americans Vote?: causes and consequences

Provides the historical context of registration and voting in the United States with an overview of these issues today. Discusses the ways federal and state governments have responded to low voter turnout.

The Hidden History of the War on Voting: Who Stole Your Vote and How to Get It Back

". . . radio host Thom Hartmann looks at our country's long and troubled voting history, analyzing the disenfranchisement of its citizens, particularly people of color, women, and the poor, and showing what we can do to ensure everyone has a voice in this democracy"--Publishers

March of the suffragettes Rosalie Gardiner Jones and the march for voting rights

Tells the real-life story of Rosalie Gardiner Jones and the journey of her four friends, who marched an all-women army nearly 175 miles to help women win the support to vote. - Publisher

Turning 15 on the Road to Freedom

Lynda Blackmon Lowery recounts her experiences as the youngest marcher on the 1965 voting rights march from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama.

Voter Suppression in U. S. Elections

"Voter Suppression in U.S. Elections offers an enlightening, history-informed conversation about voter disenfranchisement in the United States. The book includes an edited transcript of a conversation hosted by the Library Company of Philadelphia in 2019, as well as the "ten best" articles students and interested citizens should read about voter access and suppression."-- Publisher.

On Democracy's Doorstep: the inside story of how the Supreme Court brought "one person, one vote" to the United States

"The inside story of the Supreme Court decisions that brought true democracy to the United States Today, Earl Warren is recalled as the chief justice of a Supreme Court that introduced school desegregation and other dramatic changes to American society."

Thank You for Voting: the maddening, enlightening, inspiring truth about voting in America

"In this concise . . . look at the past, present, and future of voting, a journalist examines the long and continuing fight for voting equality, why so few Americans today vote, and innovative ways to educate and motivate them; included are checklists of what to do before election day to prepare to vote and encourage others"--OCLC.