Ocean County Press Release
NEW JERSEY'S Republican and Democratic primaries will be held on Tuesday, July 7th because of the ongoing COVID-19 crisis, but the Ocean County Clerk's Office is ready for the change.

Governor Phil Murphy earlier this month signed an executive order moving the elections, which this year include voting for each party's choice for president.

Murphy's order also moved the deadlines for registering to vote and the cut-off date for applying for a vote-by-mail ballot, said Ocean County Clerk Scott M. Colabella.

"Residents may register to vote up to June 16 if they want to cast a primary ballot," Colabella said. "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."

Applications for both voter registration and vote-by-mail ballots can be downloaded via links on the Ocean Clerk's website oceancountyclerk.com.

The clerk's site and Facebook page has information on candidates and other information regarding the primaries, Colabella said.

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.

Party members will pick their candidates for November election for President, U.S. Senate and House of Representatives along with county and municipal offices.

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.

Colabella said these are only supplemental signature pages. A candidate/designee will still need to complete all of the required documents (i.e. Oath of Allegiance, Certificate of Acceptance, etc.) All of the statutory requirements will remain the same.

Instructions for using the Single Signature Electronic Forms and the forms are available on the NJ Division of Elections website at https://nj.gov/state/elections/index.shtml

Independent candidates for president and congress file their petitions directly with the state Division of Elections.

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.

"The April 9 drawing is posted for anyone who would like to see it," he said.

Besides the information online, residents can speak to an official at the clerk's election office by calling 732-929-2153.

Freeholder Deputy Director Gary Quinn, liaison to the county clerk's office, thanked Colabella and his staff for having so many services available to the public despite the ongoing Coronavirus emergency.

"The public can rest assured that during these difficult times Ocean County government continues to function while we take all the necessary precautions to protect the public and our employees," Quinn said.

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