I have two pieces of important news to report:
- A Vote for Democracy: Voting by mail (VBM) for the Tuesday, July 7th primary election is now going to be far easier than ever before, thanks to the Governor’s executive order (EO 144) that requires each county’s elections officials to send vote by mail ballots to all registered Democratic and Republican voters and VBM ballot applications to unaffiliated and inactive voters. All ballots and applications will come with pre-paid postage. And if you choose to vote in person, COVID-safe options will exist. (Details below).
- Food Assistance for Children: The NJ Department of Human Services received approval from the federal government to allocate $248 million in special federal funding to nearly 600,000 New Jersey children who normally receive free or reduced-price school meals. The plan will provide each eligible student with more than $400 to help with nutritional support during the time that schools have been closed during the pandemic.
The bad news is that food insecurity in New Jersey is increasing by unprecedented proportions. The Community Food Bank of New Jersey (CFBNJ) reports that demand at some onsite pantries are up by 60 percent, while the number of emergency food boxes distributed on an average day has tripled since the beginning of the crisis.
For this reason, I hope you will consider a donation to any food bank in your area. I have listed several of the food bank organizations serving the residents in the 16th District, but donations to any nonprofit organization addressing food insecurity amounts to a life-changing donation.
And finally, Memorial Day is this weekend. While this highly unusual, socially-distant time prevents us from gathering for a parade to honor those that made the ultimate sacrifice in the service of our nation, some of our communities are planning virtual ceremonies. Please consider joining one of these ceremonies or take a moment on Monday to stop whatever you are doing in honor of our fallen service members.
Please note: the addresses given below are for physical donations of food and personal items; the websites for monetary donations. The mailing addresses are sometimes different from the physical addresses.
Community Food Bank of New Jersey
31 Evans Terminal Road, Hillside, 07205
Flemington Area Food Pantry
154 Route 31 North, Flemington, 08822 (across the parking lot from the front of the Flemington WalMart)
350 Marshall Street, Phillipsburg, NJ 08865
(serving Hunterdon and Somerset Counties)
Food Bank Network of Somerset
Building 9-E, Easy Street, Bridgewater, 08807
Hillsborough Food Bank
The Peter J. Biondi Building, 379 South Branch Road, Hillsborough, 08844
Montgomery Township Food Bank
Otto Kaufman Community Center, 356 Skillman Rd, Skillman, 08558
McFoods of Middlesex County
(732) 745-5548 or (609) 409-5033
28 Kennedy Boulevard, Suite 850, East Brunswick, 08816
South Brunswick Township Food Bank
(732) 329-4000, ext. 7674
Municipal Building, 540 Ridge Road, Monmouth Junction, 08852
(formerly Crisis Ministry of Mercer County)
61 Nassau Street, Princeton, 08540 (Nassau Presbyterian Church)
Mercer Street Friends
151 Mercer Street, Trenton, 08611
Trenton Area Soup Kitchen
72 Escher Street, Trenton, 08609
New Jersey Division of Elections
Am I registered to vote?
Primary voting date: July 7, 2020
Every registered Democratic and Republican voter will get a Vote By Mail ballot – pre-paid postage.
Every unaffiliated and inactive voter will get a VBM ballot application - pre-paid postage. To receive the ballot by mail, the application must be received by the County Clerk 7 days prior to the election. A voter may also return the application in person to the County Clerk until 3 p.m., the day before the election. The County Clerk cannot accept faxed or emailed copies of a Application for Vote by Mail Ballot, unless you are a Military or Overseas Voter, since an original signature is required.
For those who want in-person access to voting, each municipality must have a minimum of one polling place; and provided that there are enough poll workers, there must be a minimum of 50 percent of polling places in each county to give voters access to in-person voting opportunities. Polling locations will be required to follow COVID public health standards.
In addition to using the U.S. Postal Service for delivery of the mail-in ballots, each county also will provide at least five secure ballot drop boxes and place them in locations readily accessible to the registered voters within the county.
- The deadline for the receipt of mail-in ballots to be counted has been extended to seven days after the election.