Ocean County election officials this week announced new deadlines to register to vote – and to register to vote by mail – in the Republican and Democrat primary elections, which have been postponed to July 7.
According to the county clerk’s office, citizens must register to vote by June 16. The new deadline to submit a vote-by-mail ballot application through the mail is June 30.
“We must receive the application by June 30 in order to mail the ballot back to the voter,” said Ocean County Clerk Scott M. Colabella.
Applications for both voter registration and vote-by-mail ballots can be downloaded via links on the Ocean Clerk’s website, www.oceancountyclerk.com.
To vote in either the Republican or Democratic primary, voters must already be a declared voter in either party or an undeclared voter who chooses a party when first casting a primary ballot. Registered Republicans and Democrats wishing to change their party affiliation prior to the 2020 primaries must do so by May 13 with the Ocean County Board of Elections.
The most notable local primary campaign will be the GOP’s pick for the third congressional district. David Richter, the party favorite, is facing former Burlington County Freeholder Kate Gibbs, whose promising campaign lost steam after it was revealed she had shoplifted from a department store in the past. Barnegat Township Mayor John J. Novak recently dropped out of the race. The winner will face incumbent U.S. Rep. Andy Kim, a Democrat.
Additionally, independent candidates wishing to run for municipal or county office must submit their completed petitions to the county clerk’s office by July 7. As a measure to mitigate the spread of COVID-19, candidates can now obtain signatures electronically on a nominating petition.
While Ocean County has closed its public buildings to the public, Colabella said his office continues to prepare for the upcoming primary.
Earlier this month, in effort to maintain social distancing, Colabella live-streamed the statutory-required drawing of ballot positions for the primaries on the clerk’s Facebook page, facebook.com/oceancountyclerk.