TRENTON – New Jerseyans can begin casting their general-election ballots on electronic voting machines this Saturday, as nine days of early voting are held in the state for the first time.

Residents have been able to vote in advance of Election Day in past years through the mail or by hand-delivering a ballot to county election officials. But for people who prefer voting on a machine the way they’re used to doing, there is now a more familiar option.

“Depending on the size of your county, you’ll have anywhere from three to 10 voting locations, early voting sites to vote,” said Robert Giles, director of the state Division of Elections. “It doesn’t have to be the one in your town or the closest to your house. No appointment necessary.”

You do have to vote in your home county, however, even if the closest early voting center happens to cross county lines.

The early voting period runs from Saturday, Oct. 23 to Sunday, Oct. 31, two days before Election Day.

The election machines should be familiar though might not be identical to the ones used before. The signing-in process will be different.

“One of the big changes people will see is that we now have electronic poll books,” Giles said. “And the reason for those is you can vote in any location within your county, so you have to have every registered voter within the county on that list. A paper poll book just doesn’t work.

“So, we can have every voter in the county on the list,” he said. “Also, it allows them to all talk to each other throughout the country so you wouldn’t have a voter going from early voting site A and then driving to try to vote at early voting site B. Those electronic poll books are all talking to each other. As you vote at one site, within minutes it updates all the electronic poll books throughout the county.”

Electronic poll books will also be used at all in-person voting sites on Election Day. Giles said it wouldn’t be possible to update paper poll books for use at the Tuesday elections that start 36 hours after early voting ends.

“You’ll sign on a tablet, on screen like you do at a store on one of the transaction pads,” Giles said.

Early voting centers will be open from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday to Saturday and 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Sundays.

Early voting locations in each NJ county
Each county in the state will have between three and 10 early voting locations, open daily for the 2021 general election from Oct. 23 through Oct. 31. The sites will be open from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. except for Sundays, when they will close at 6 p.m.

Clifton Public Library, 292 Piaget Ave, Clifton 07011
Haledon Recreation Center, 83 Roe St, Haledon 07508
Passaic Municipal Building, 330 Passaic Street, Passaic 07055
Paterson Fire Dept HQ, 300 McBride Ave, Paterson 07501
The Islamic Center of Passaic County, 152 Derrom Ave, Paterson 07504
Passaic County Community College Wanaque Campus, 500 Union Ave, Wanaque 07420
Wayne Main Library, 461 Valley Rd, Wayne 07470
West Milford Municipal Building, 1480 Union Valley Rd, West Milford 07480
West Paterson Boys and Girls Club, 8 Memorial Dr, Woodland Park 07424

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