By Luke M, Web & Multimedia Editor
My friends are pretty divided about whether the presidential election is worth their time. Some of them are excited about certain candidates, but have expressed that they feel their vote is statistically insignificant and not the effort to go out and vote.
To those of you who think it’s not worth the effort to drive to the polls and vote, I have a message for you: don’t go out to vote.
Send your vote in the mail instead!
Very few people I’ve spoken to realize that in New Jersey, you don’t need to drive to vote in any of your local and national elections. If you’ve registered to vote (which you can also do very easily by mail), you can request that all the year’s election ballots get sent directly to you home address several days before the polling day.
New Jersey is one of a handful of lucky states that allow all voting-age residents to vote using the mail in form, known as an Absentee Ballot. It’s a nice privilege, considering that many other states require you to either drive to the polls for have a serious excuse to be eligible to vote with an absentee ballot. Of all of New Jersey’s neighboring states, Maryland is the only one to also offer no-excuse absentee voting.
This perk also extends to the Presidential Primary elections, which are turning out to be particularly interesting with the oddball candidates we have this year. As long as you are a registered affiliate of one of the parties (which—surprise!—you can also do by mail), voting for your preferred candidate is as easy as printing a form, folding it and throwing a stamp on it.
Even if you think the candidates are all awful, at least vote for a third party candidate or something. Less than 65% of eligible citizens voted in the last general election. Improving that number by a few points is all it takes to change history.
For the Primaries, the last day to request an absentee ballot by mail is May 8.
For the general election in November, October 9 is the last day to register to vote and to request an absentee ballot by mail.
Here are a few key dates to keep in mind:
Last day to request absentee ballot by mail (in time for the Primaries):
May 8, 2016
Last day to register for the Primaries:
May 17, 2016
Last day to register to vote and request an absentee ballot for the General Election:
October 9, 2016