NJ Primary 2021



Primary elections provide a crucial opportunity for voters to influence the electoral process by nominating a candidate to represent their political party.

All applications and information can be found at www.lwvnj.org and www.vote411.org

NJ Primary Election Important Deadlines:

  • Voter Registration Deadline for Primary (by mail or online):

May 18, 2021 (Voter registration form must be postmarked by this date)

  • Vote By Mail Application (by mail):

June 1, 2021 (County Clerk must receive application by this date)

  • Vote by Mail Application (in person):

June 7, 2021 by 3:00 pm, at your County Clerk’s office

  • 2021 NJ Primary Election Date:

June 8, 2021 (polls open 6 am – 8 pm)

How does COVID-19 Impact the June 8, 2021 Primary Election:

This election will look like pre-COVID New Jersey elections. Many of the policies adopted during the 2020 election to circumvent COVID will not be in place.

  • Polling sites will be open for machine in-person voting.

  • New Jersey voters need to apply to receive mail-in ballots.

  • Voters may return mail-in ballots using a ballot drop box; through the U.S. postal system, or in-person at the county Board of Elections office. Mail-in ballots may not be dropped off at polling locations.

What is a primary? Am I eligible to vote in the New Jersey primary?

A primary is an election that allows members of a political party to choose a candidate to represent them in an upcoming election. In New Jersey only voters who are registered members of a political party may participate in nominating that party’s candidates. Unaffiliated voters can declare a party when voting in a primary. Currently, only the Republican and Democratic parties use a primary election system to select nominees.

Am I eligible to vote and how can I register to vote?

To register to vote in NJ, you must be: a United States citizen; at least 17 years old (and understand you cannot vote until you reach the age of 18); a resident of the county for 30 days before the election; and not currently serving a sentence of incarceration because of a felony conviction. You can register to vote if you are on parole or probation. The voter registration deadline for the June Primary election is May 18, 2021.

Who am I voting for when I vote in a primary?

Primary elections happen at all levels of government, including United States President, New Jersey’s Senator and Representatives to the U.S. Congress, New Jersey state legislators, as well as county and municipal seats. As a declared member of a party in your voting district you vote to choose which candidate will be that party’s nominee to appear on the ballot in an upcoming general election.

I am currently affiliated with a political party, but want to change my affiliation before the primaries. What do I do?

The deadline to change party affiliation has passed. You would have had to file a Party Affiliation Declaration Form with your county Commissioner of Registration/ Superintendent of Elections at least 55 days before the primary election.

I am not currently affiliated with a political party, but want to vote in the upcoming Primary Election. What do I do?

Unaffiliated voters can register with a political party up to and including Primary Election Day. Unaffiliated voters have an opportunity to declare your affiliation in person at the polls on Primary Election Day or when you cast your mail-in ballot (read the information that comes with your ballot carefully). You retain that party affiliation unless you file a Party Affiliation Declaration Form after the election.

I want to vote in person. Where is my polling location?

You can look up your polling location online at www.lwvnj.org. Your polling location will also be listed on your sample ballot. Voters receive sample ballots in the mail about a week before Election Day.

What about early voting?

New Jersey recently passed legislation implementing in-person early voting, but it does not go into effect until the November General Election. You can vote early using a mail-in ballot for the Primary Election.

How can I vote by mail?

In New Jersey, any eligible registered voter can Vote by Mail – you do not need a reason to request a Vote by Mail ballot, but you do need to apply. To receive your Vote by Mail ballot by mail, the application must be received by your County Clerk by June 1, 2021. Voters can also apply in person to the County Clerk up until 3:00 pm on June 7, 2021.

How do I return my mail-in ballot?

Do not wait until the last minute to return your ballot. You may return your ballot by mail as soon as you receive it, and it must be postmarked by election day and received by the County Board of Elections within 144 hours (6 days) after the close of polls. You may also bring your ballot in person to your county’s board of elections office, or to a secure ballot drop box location before polls close on election day. Be sure to check with your county for drop box locations. Your ballot can be tracked online

How do I learn about the candidates?

Candidate debates and forums are core features of U.S. politics that help voters learn more about a candidate and his or her stance on key issues. Candidates running for federal or statewide office are often easier to find information about. More local primary candidates typically vocalize their opinions through the local newspaper and news channel, participate in community candidate forums, and send out campaign material. Many candidates also create Facebook and Twitter accounts where you can learn more about their platforms. The League of Women Voters of New Jersey covers races at all levels at www.Vote411.org.

Other questions?

Email the League of Women Voters of New Jersey at mmarks@lwvnj.org, tweet us @LWVNJ, or reach out on Facebook facebook.com/LWVNJ.