As mail-in ballots are sent, what Pa. and N.J. voters need to know

Trish Hartman Image
Friday, September 25, 2020
As mail-in ballots are sent, what Pa. and N.J. voters need to know
If you plan on voting by mail, there are several things you'll need to keep in mind.

CAMDEN, New Jersey (WPVI) -- Over the next week, about 340,000 mail-in ballots will be mailed in Camden County, New Jersey alone.

Officials say that's almost six times as many ballots compared to a typical election.

"This is going to be new to a lot of voters. So we took a lot of time to create visual instructions on how to do it. Staff, if you call - we will walk you through the process," said Camden County Deputy County Clerk John Schmidt.

VOTE 2020: Election resources for the tri-state area

A New Jersey ballot must be placed in the correct envelopes and signed, or it will not be counted.

Pennsylvania's mail-in ballots should be going out within the next week or two to those who applied for them, according to a spokesperson for Pennsylvania's Department of State.

Last week Pennsylvania's Supreme Court ruled that "naked ballots" - ballots without the inner secrecy envelope - will be thrown out.

Action News spoke with David Thornburgh, president and CEO of the Committee of Seventy, a nonpartisan nonprofit that aims to provide accurate information for Pennsylvania voters.

"The reason we have two envelopes is we want to protect the identity of the voter when the outer envelope is opened. So what's being counted is simply a ballot without anybody's name on it," said Thornburgh.

In Northeastern Pennsylvania, the U.S. attorney's office is investigating a case of nine mail-in ballots found in a dumpster outside the bureau of elections in Luzerne County.

We spoke with PA voters who are voting by mail like Mary Scherf from Bala Cynwyd, Pa.

"I may take it directly to Norristown and deliver it that way just to be sure I don't have to worry about whatever else is going on," said Scherf.

We also found people who are planning to vote in person.

"I don't trust the mail system," said Tina Thompson of West Philadelphia, who said she recently received a packaged that was sent in July.