Every post office in New Jersey will close before polls do on election day.
Just 18 of the more than 500 post offices run by the U.S. Postal Service will stay open until 7 p.m. next Tuesday, and another won’t close its doors until 6:45 p.m.
That means ballots dropped into a mailbox on election day may not be postmarked until the day after. While Gov. Phil Murphy has enacted a seven-day grace period for late-arriving mail-in ballots, such ballots need to be postmarked by election day to be counted.
Ballots received in the 48 hours following the close of polls will be counted whether they have a postmark or not, but that rule won’t make election officials count ballots postmarked for Nov. 4.
“With a record number of people across the country voting by mail, the U.S. Postal Service’s number one priority between now and the November election is the secure, timely delivery of the nation’s Election Mail,” USPS spokesman George Flood said. “USPS continues to process an historic volume of political and election mail this season. The 630,000 women and men of the Postal Service are committed to our longstanding role in the electoral process, and we are actively working to deliver in this election season.”
No post office south of Middlesex County’s Monroe Township will be open until 7 p.m.
The news comes as post offices around the country, New Jersey’s branches included, face days-long mail delivery delays.
That means thousands of New Jersey voters who wait until the last minutes to mail their ballot could be impacted — and potentially disenfranchised — even if they vote on time. It’s unsurprising then that state election officials are urging voters to not rely on USPS to deliver ballots mailed after the end of the week.
Instead, they’re pushing residents to cast their votes using one of more than 200 secure ballot drop boxes in the state. Voters seem to be listening.
So far, drop box usage has outpaced mail-voting by a 2-1 margin, though those numbers could be altered by an unknown number of ballots awaiting USPS delivery.
Post offices closing at 7 p.m. on election day:
Hudson: Bayonne, Edgewater, North Bergen (Woodcliff Station)
Middlesex: Colonia, Metuchen, Monroe Township, Parlin, Woodbridge
Morris: Lake Hiawatha
Passaic: Clifton, Little Falls
Somerset: Basking Ridge, Somerville, Warren
Essex: Montclair, Newark Main Post Office, West Orange, Bloomfield (6:45 p.m.)