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Counties set to commence mailing ballots on Saturday

Unclear how collapsed roof at USPS facility will affect deliver of vote-by-mail ballots

By David Wildstein, September 13 2021 6:42 pm

Today is the statutory deadline for county clerks to prepare general election ballots for printing, with election officials set to commence mailing vote-by-mail ballots on Saturday, September 18.

That doesn’t mean all voters ill receive their ballots right away.  Election officials in many counties staffer the mailing of VBM ballots.  Some go in alphabetical order; others use the size of the municipalities – either smallest to largest, or in the opposite direction.

In some parts of the state, county clerks are bracing for possible delays from the U.S. Postal Service after the roof at their facility in Kearny partially collapsed during Tropical Storm Ida.

“The United States Postal Service is committed to fulfilling its role in the electoral process and anticipates a full and successful participation in all state and local elections this year,” said Xavier Hernandez, a spokesman for the U.S. Postal Service.  “The Postal Service enjoys strong working relationships with state and local election officials and continuously communicates with them to ensure success in using the mail as part of the electoral process.”

Hernandez said damage to the roof of the Greater Newark Processing and Distribution Center’ was damaged in recent storms.

“The facility is still under repair, with workplace safety and the welfare of postal employees being our primary concern,” said Hernandez.  “At this time, mail processing, including Election Mail is being handled and advanced timely at other processing facilities within the area.  We continue to look forward to New Jersey’s gubernatorial election in November.”

Some election officials reported geocoding issues with the Statewide Voter Registration System that involving labels with mail-in ballots, but those issues appear to be resolved.

Ballots will be delayed in Hillsborough and Hillside, where judges have halted the printing of ballots until legal matters can be resolved.

A candidate for Hillsborough fire commissioner is suing to get on the ballot after missing the filing deadline by less than a day.  She is citing extenuating circumstances: her husband, a firefighter, was killed in the line of duty less than two weeks earlier.

Superior Court Jude Alan Lesnewich will hear a challenge by Hillside Mayor Dahlia Vertreese on Monday over a decision by the municipal clerk not to bracket her council running mates.  Union County needs about 3-4 days to print Hillside’s ballots once the judge makes his ruling.

Another judge, Robert C. Wilson, ordered ballots printed in Teaneck that include two ballot initiatives initially rejected by the municipal clerk.  An attorney for the township said today that he would appeal Wilson’s ruling on a public question to move municipal non-partisan elections to November, but it will be up to the appellate division to decide if they want to order a delay in printing Teaneck vote-by-mail ballots.

This story was updated at 8:40 AM.

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