County Clerk & Board of Elections to follow new protocols

FREEHOLD, NJ – Monmouth County Clerk Christine Giordano Hanlon announced important reforms in how Monmouth County voters can apply for Vote By Mail ballots with the County Clerk and how the Board of Elections can receive voted ballots from voters.

The reforms are effective immediately under a new law signed by Governor Chris Christie on August 10, 2015.

“The new law impacts New Jersey voters who, by necessity or by choice, have another individual submit a Vote By Mail request and/or election ballot on their behalf,” Hanlon said.

The new law reduces number of voters for whom a person can serve as “messenger” from 10 to three.

It also limits the number of voted mail-in ballots transmittable by a “bearer” to the County Board of Elections to three ballots.

The law specifically states that “no person shall serve as an authorized messenger or as a “bearer” for more than three qualified voters in an election. The prior law permitted a person to serve as an authorized “messenger” for up to 10 qualified voters in an election, and set no limit on the number of voted ballots a “bearer” may collect.

The bill also now requires a person serving as a bearer delivering a voted mail-in ballot to the County Board of Elections, to provide proof of his or her identity in the form of a New Jersey driver’s license, or another form of identification issued or recognized as official by the federal government, the State, or any of its subdivisions, providing the identification carries the full address and signature of the person.

“This new law is critical to preventing manipulation of the voting process,” Hanlon said. “And it will reduce the opportunity for fraud and abuse of the system. I congratulate the legislature and the Governor for acknowledging the need to protect the integrity of the process.”

“In Monmouth County, we typically have a significant number of messengers and bearers in our elections and it is important for our voters to be aware of these new laws.” Hanlon continued, “The statute provides that the change will take effect immediately, meaning that this change will impact the 2015 September school and the November general elections.

Voters who individually receive and transmit their Mail-In Ballots through the U.S. Postal Service are not impacted by this new law.

Voting by mail is a two-step process. First, the voter must complete a Vote By Mail request and submit it to the Elections Office of the County Clerk where the request is verified and voter is provided an election ballot. The second step is for the voter to complete the ballot and return it to the Board of Elections in time for the ballot to be counted on Election Day.

The new Vote By Mail law, bi-partisan legislation that was unanimously passed by the State Legislature, was sponsored in the Assembly by Assemblyman Declan O’Scanlon of Monmouth County’s 13th legislative district.