Election Guide for Young Americans
Voting Isn't Hard, Let's Get You Started
Election Day: November 7, 2023
If you turn 18 before election day, you can participate! New Jersey allows you to register either online or in-person, vote by mail or in a polling place, and track the status of your ballot online or by email!
17-Year-Olds Can Register to Vote
In 2016, a New Jersey law enabled every eligible 17-year-old New Jersey citizen to register to vote with the understanding that they can participate in elections once they become 18. Previous law allowed 17-year-olds to register only if they would turn 18 on or before the next election. Today, 17-year-olds can now complete and mail in a voter registration form and will be designated as pending until their 18th birthday. At that time, their designation will change to registered.
Additionally, a new change at the Motor Vehicle Commission has made it easier for 17-year-olds, and everyone else, to register to vote or update their voting information when obtaining or renewing licenses. Newly installed technology enables MVC customers to indicate if they would like to register and provide an electronic signature using a touch screen computer.
FAQs on Voting
Why should I vote?
As an American, voting is a civic duty that you should exercise when the opportunity comes. If you vote, you have influence over who best represents your values. Your vote is not only impactful in presidential and gubernatorial races, but also your town council and commissioner elections.
What if I don't have time?
New Jersey has made voting more flexible to your schedule through vote-by-mail ballots and early in-person voting locations. If you choose to vote by mail, you may only need to spend as little as three minutes! Even if you are overseas, the federal government has made voting possible.
In order to learn more about alternative voting operations, click here.
How does my vote matter in a noncompetitive area?
Candidates not only care about whether they win, but how many voters chose them. Although your election may not be competitive, you get to set the mandate that the winning candidate has in government. Furthermore, your power is not limited to statewide and national races. Down the ballot, there are mayoral candidates and prospective Board of Education members that don't much attention from voters. In New Jersey, we have ballot initiatives that allow you to exercise direct democracy. The 2020 ballot initiative is the reason why marijuana is legal for New Jerseyans 21-years-old or older.