We always knew that the mail-in vote mandate was going to be a nightmare. We knew that nothing was going to be as accurate as walking into a voting booth and pulling the little lever. But we are stuck with it now and the snafus have come in fast and furious. But there’s something very important that New Jerseyans for some reason have not been getting the message about.

Once more for the cheap seats: YOU WILL NOT BE ABLE TO VOTE IN PERSON UNLESS YOU ARE DISABLED. I’m not counting provisional votes because I don’t believe that they are bona fide votes. (They may or may not be counted.) I have heard so many callers, and even people I know personally, say “I’m not mailing in. I looked on the government’s website and the polling booths will be open that day. And polling places WILL be open on election day." That is where much of the confusion lies.

People think that because their local polling place is open, that means they can go there and vote. But those places are only open to you if you are disabled, want to drop off your already filled-in mail-in ballot, or will settle for a provisional vote. I can’t tell you how many people I have had to convince that they needed to drop their ballots off at a secure ballot box because they could not vote in person.

As the last few days before election day are upon us, I thought it would be helpful to reiterate the rules here in case you’re one of those people who is planning to walk up to his local school or firehouse or wherever the polling places and vote. A lot of the confusion comes from the different rules in different states. For instance, younger people who rely on Twitter and Instagram for their “news“ will see a tweet from someone who lives in New York saying “don’t forget to vote!”

They will then list the three ways you can vote:

  1. By mail
  2. Early voting drop off
  3. In person at polling place.

New Jersey people read this and think that those are the rules for the entire country and don’t realize it’s a New Yorker posting it. So remember, regardless of what other people in other states are doing, don’t forget: unless you are disabled you may NOT vote in person. So drop off your ballot soon!

The post above reflects the thoughts and observations of New Jersey 101.5 talk show host Judi Franco. Any opinions expressed are Judi's own.

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