Burlington County Elections officials want to remind voters who plan to participate in the New Jersey Primary Election that they have the option of voting early with a machine.
The three-day early voting period kicked off today and will continue through the weekend at the seven early voting sites in Burlington County.
Voters thinking of casting their primary ballot at an early voting site should be aware that the sites use new voting machines that are different from ones employed at their regular polling site on election days.
The new machines were first unveiled last year before the November General Election, but voters using them for the first time may want to leave extra time to familiarize themselves with them and the new procedures.
The following is a brief rundown of things voters should know:
Burlington County voters can cast ballots at any of the seven early-voting sites.
During the early voting period, a registered voter from any of Burlington County’s 40 municipalities can go to any one of the seven early voting locations. This is different than Election Day when voters go to their assigned polling spots in their town of residence.
All seven sites are open from 10 AM to 8 PM today and Saturday and from 10 AM to 6 PM on Sunday.
The sites are located at the following locations:
- Chesterfield at the Chesterfield Township Municipal Building, 295 Bordentown-Chesterfield Road;
- Evesham at the Gibson House Community Center, 535 East Main Street, Marlton;
- Medford at the Medford Town Hall, 49 Union Street;
- Mount Laurel at Rowan College at Burlington County Student Success Center, 1500 College Circle;
- Pemberton Township at the Pemberton Community Library, 16 Broadway, Browns Mills;
- Shamong at the Lenape Regional Administrative Building (93 Willow Grove Rd, Shamong, NJ);
- Willingboro at the Willingboro Public Library, 220 Campbell Drive.
Any voter registered as Democrat, Republican or unaffiliated is eligible to vote at an early voting location. However, unaffiliated voters will be required to declare a party to vote in either the Democratic or Republican primaries.
Registered voters who have already requested or received a Vote-by-Mail ballot are also not eligible to vote with a machine during the early voting machine or on Election Day. Those that do show up will be given the option of voting with a provisional paper ballot.
Voters will sign-in with electronic poll books.
In addition to using new machines for early voting, all voters will be asked to sign-in with new electronic poll books. The change was required to keep early voting secure since registered voters can vote at any early voting site.
The process is nearly the same as voters are used to but requires them to sign an electronic pad with a disposable stylus pen rather than a paper poll book.
Voters will receive a white plastic voter card.
After signing in with the new electronic poll book, voters will be given a white plastic voter card that needs to be inserted into one of the new digital voting machines, which are also called ballot marking devices.
The card activates a digital touch screen and lets the machine know which local ballot to display.
Once activated with the card, the display will show simple instructions. Voters should read these instructions carefully before proceeding to the next step. A “go to ballot” prompt will appear in the right-hand corner of the screen. Touch the prompt to continue.
The new machines use a touch screen.
After selecting the “go to ballot” prompt, the voter’s local ballot will appear on the screen. It will look similar to the ballots New Jersey voters are accustomed to seeing.
Since this is a primary election, Republican voters will receive the Republican primary ballot for their town or district and Democrats will receive their Democratic ballot.
Voting is done with the machine’s touch screen. To vote for a candidate or a ballot question, voters should use the stylus or their finger to touch the box on the screen with either the candidate’s name or the ballot question response. The oval on the screen will turn black to mark the selections. To deselect a choice, touch the box on the screen again.
After making all their selections, voters should click the “Review” tab in the bottom right corner of the screen. This will allow voters to review and double check their selections carefully, including those from both sides of the ballot, before proceeding.
Voters must print their completed ballot.
After completing their ballot review, voters proceed by touching the “Print” tab in the bottom right corner of the screen. A printer beneath the touch screen will print a paper copy of the completed ballot. Do not remove the ballot until the printer completes printing on both sides. Voters should then remove their voter card and retrieve and review their printed ballot for any errors.
If satisfied with their selections, voters should place their printed ballot into a privacy folder that will be provided.
There is still one more very important step left, so voters should not leave with their printed ballot!
To cast a ballot, voters must use a tabulator machine
Each early voting location will be equipped with two voting tabulator machines. These are the devices that voters must use to actually cast their votes.
After printing and reviewing their paper ballot, voters should proceed to one of the tabulators and insert the marked ballot into the machine to be scanned and tabulated. You can do this with or without the privacy folder.
Once the ballot is inserted and scanned, voters should look for a green check mark on the tabulator screen and the message “ballot successfully cast.” This lets you know that the ballot has been correctly inserted and read.
Afterwards, voters need to return their voter card and stylus to poll workers.
Why use different machines?
The new technology was vetted and certified by the State and was put into place specifically for early voting so that voters can securely vote at any of the seven early voting sites. It also provides a voter-verifiable paper trail of every vote.
Voters going to the polls on Election Day will cast their ballots with traditional machines, though every voter will be required to sign in with an electronic poll book.
Vote-by-Mail ballots are still available
Voters interested in voting early but with a vote-by-mail ballot can still request one, but they must do so in-person at the Burlington County Clerk’s Office at 50 Rancocas Road in Mount Holly.
Completed Vote-by-Mail ballots can be mailed through the U.S. Post Office or placed in one of 28 secure drop boxes located throughout the county. For all Burlington County drop box locations go to, https://nj.gov/state/elections/vote-secure-drop-boxes.shtml
Voters may also hand-deliver completed Vote-by-Mail ballots to the Burlington County Board of Elections Office at 50 Rancocas Road.
All Vote-by-Mail ballots must be postmarked or submitted to the Board of Elections or placed in a drop box before 8 PM on June 7.
Election Day voting
Primary voters can also cast ballots in-person with a machine on June 7 at their regular polling location.
To find your Election Day polling site, go to https://voter.svrs.nj.gov/polling-place-search
Residents with questions about the election and voting process can call the Burlington County Elections hotline at 609-265-VOTE.