Starting in 2018, hundreds of Middletown voters will have to go to a different polling location than they’ve gone to in the past because their Middletown district number has changed. For some Middletown voters, their Congressional district number also changed (from D4 to D6, or D6 to D4), which changes their Congressional rep and the Congressional candidates listed on their 2018 ballot and ballots in future years when there are Congressional races.
Make sure you go to the correct polling location if you want to vote. Your current Middletown district number and polling location are listed on your sample ballot in the red box to the left of your mailing address.
In years when there are Congressional races, the sample ballot lists your Congressional district (CD4 or CD6) in the page margin to the left of the candidates. November 2018 election: If you live in CD4, your 2018 ballot should list Josh Welle (D). If you live in CD6, your 2018 ballot should list Frank Pallone (D).
The changes result from two audits in 2018, a Congressional Audit that used advanced technology to better pinpoint location of residents’ addresses and a State Audit prompted by the move to a new software system. That is to the best of our understanding per discussion with the County Clerk’s Office.
Affected voters / households were sent a letter about the changes in the Spring 2018, according to the County Clerk’s Office. See a sample letter here. The Clerk’s Office also said that Middletown is the only municipality in Monmouth County where affected residents may have had a change in their Congressional District in addition to their municipal district.
IF YOU ARE TOLD AT YOUR POLLING LOCATION THAT YOU CAN’T VOTE
First, check that you are at the right location and poll worker table for your Middletown district. The information is on your sample ballot. If you don’t have it, you can call the Monmouth County Clerk’s Elections Office at 732-431-7790.
If you are at the correct polling location and are told your name is not in their book, but you feel it is an error for any reason, request a PROVISIONAL BALLOT to cast your vote. Books could be missing some last-minute registrants, for example.
If you are at the correct polling location and are told you can’t vote using a voting machine because you were sent a vote-by-mail ballot (see footnote), request a PROVISIONAL BALLOT in order to cast your vote if you have not already voted by mail. If you have the vote-by-mail ballot, you can use that instead of the provisional ballot.
(footnote: Starting in 2018, a new state voting law required vote-by-mail ballots to be sent out to voters who applied for one in 2016 and did not opt out for the 2018 election. That law was expanded in 2019 to include persons who applied for a vote-by-mail ballot in years 2017 or 2018. Some people may be unaware they received a vote-by-mail ballot, or the ballot may have been mailed to an old address. If you have not already voted, you can vote at the polls by requesting a provisional ballot.)
REQUESTING A PROVISIONAL BALLOT AT THE POLLS
You can request a PROVISIONAL BALLOT (paper ballot) only at the polling location for your Middletown district. There may be a shortage of provisional ballots in 2018 and some future years as a result of the recent law change mentioned above. To avoid disenfranchisement, it’s better not to leave until you vote. Here are some numbers you can call to protect your right to vote:
Monmouth County Clerk’s Elections Office: 732-431-7790
Middletown Township Municipal Clerk’s Office: 732-615-2014 or 732-615-2015
League of Women Voters of New Jersey: 1-800-792-VOTE (8683)
HOW TO CHECK THAT YOU ARE REGISTERED TO VOTE
If you registered to vote years ago but have not voted in any election in the last few years, it is important to check that you are still registered due to elimination of inactive voters from the registration rolls. New registrants may also want to check their registration status. You can check if you are currently registered to vote using New Jersey’s Voter Registration Look-up Tool by clicking on the link provided here.
KNOW YOUR VOTING RIGHTS
The League of Women Voters of New Jersey put together a wonderful easy-to-read flyer. Find it HERE.