Voting is the cornerstone of our democracy and the fundamental right upon which all our civil liberties rest. For college students, it can be especially difficult to know if you’re eligible, how to register, and where to cast your ballot. To vote your values this fall, here’s what you need to know.
Where you vote is determined by the address that you use to register to vote. As a college student, you may register to vote using your college address or your parent/guardians’ home address, depending on which district you prefer to vote in. To be clear, this is your choice, and can include the following scenarios:
- You are a college student – from either in- or out-of-state – studying in-residence at a New Jersey school and want to vote in the New Jersey elections this fall.
- You are a college student – whose parents/guardians currently live in New Jersey – studying in-residence at a school out of state and want to vote in the New Jersey elections this fall.
- You are a college student living in New Jersey attending classes virtually and want to vote in the New Jersey elections this fall.
If you are 17 years old you, you can register now and can begin voting once you turn 18. If you moved from out-of-state or from a different county in New Jersey to attend college and are registering with your college address, you must have resided at your new address for at least 30 days before the election to be eligible to vote from that address.
New Jersey’s registration deadline for the upcoming general election is October 17, 2023 – 21 days before Election Day, which this year falls on November 7, 2023.
I’m a college student planning to vote in New Jersey. How do I register?
You can register to vote in a few ways. You can register online, by mailing a paper registration form to your county’s Commissioner of Registration or Superintendent of Elections, or by filling out a registration form in person at the office of your County Commissioner of Registration or Municipal Clerk. You can also register to vote in person when applying for a driver’s license or non-driver identification at a Motor Vehicle Commission (“MVC”) agency, or when applying for services or assistance administered by certain public agencies.
It’s always a good idea to check your registration status ahead of an election. You will receive a sample ballot about one week before the election that will indicate the location of your polling place, or you can look up the location online.
How do I vote in New Jersey elections?
Once registered to vote in New Jersey, you have three options for casting your ballot:
You can apply for a vote-by-mail ballot through your County Clerk, and then return a completed vote-by-mail ballot to a drop box in your county or to your County Board of Elections office by mail or in person.
You can vote early in person at any of your county’s designated early voting locations. The early voting period for the upcoming general election is October 28, 2023-November 5, 2023.
You can vote in person at your polling place on Election Day: November 7, 2023.
What type of ID do I need to vote in New Jersey elections?
In most cases, once registered, you don’t need an ID to vote; only certain first-time voters who registered using a paper form (not online) must present ID at the polls.
When registering to vote online, you are required to provide a New Jersey driver’s license number, MVC non-driver identification number, or Social Security number. If you don’t have those forms of identification, you can register by mail or in person on a paper form. The paper form asks all registrants to provide a driver’s license number, non-driver identification number, or the last four digits of a Social Security number, or to swear or affirm that they do not have any of those numbers.
Individuals who use the paper form and who cannot provide one of the identification numbers will need to present a copy of an acceptable form of identification or documentation with their name and current address before casting a ballot for the first time. Acceptable identification and documentation include student or job IDs, store membership cards, bank statements, pay checks, rent receipts, car registrations, utility bills, government checks, sample ballots, and more.