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• New Jersey will send mail-in ballots to all registered voters in the general election.
• All counties will be required to provide at least half their usual polling locations on Election Day, when residents can vote in person with a paper provisional ballot.
• Drop boxes for ballots will also be available in locations throughout the state.
When Newark, N.J., Mayor Ras J. Baraka and election officials announced a sports arena, the Prudential Center, would be "a super polling site" on Election Day, Baraka said the move would make voting more accessible and hailed it as a shown "commitment to the democratic process."
Others saw it differently.
After media coverage, a claim on Facebook began circulating that the Prudential Center would be the only in-person polling location available on Election Day. The center is used as an entertainment venue that can host up to 17,000 people at a time and the home arena for the New Jersey Devils hockey and Seton Hall basketball teams.
"Phil Murphy only allowing in-person voting on Election Day at Prudential Center in Newark," reads a recent post by NJ Citizens for a Free State.
This post was flagged as part of Facebook’s efforts to combat false news and misinformation on its News Feed. (Read more about our partnership with Facebook.)
New Jersey Democratic Gov. Phil Murphy announced in August that the state would send mail-in ballots to all registered voters. He also said the state would still offer voters the option to cast their ballots in person.
In-person polling locations before Election Day will be available for only the visually impaired, according to the Essex County Board of Elections. But Murphy’s executive order directs counties to provide at least half their usual polling sites on Election Day so voters can cast their ballots in person, by provisional ballot, if they want.
Counties are supposed to choose polling locations based on geography and population density. In Essex County alone, dozens of polling locations are typically offered.
However, the order does allow counties to concentrate more voting districts into one larger polling place. The city said the Prudential Center "will be able to fit more voting districts in this one site." Decisions on final polling sites are made by the individual counties, not the governor.
So what exactly is a "super polling site"?
At the Prudential Center in Newark, voters will be allowed to cast their provisional ballots on the first floor from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Election Day, according to the city. The center will also be a place that accepts mail-in ballots, registers voters, and holds a satellite office for early vote counts by the county. (A lawsuit by President Donald Trump’s campaign is currently trying to stop early vote canvassing.)
The Prudential Center won’t be the only place to drop off ballots, either. The governor’s order requires counties to provide at least 10 easily accessible drop boxes, where voters can return their ballots ahead of Nov. 3. Ballots must be postmarked by 8 p.m. on Election Day and received by election boards up to a week later to get counted.
New Jersey this year joined several other states that conduct all vote-by-mail elections as a way to combat the challenges around voting during a pandemic. Some Western states — Washington, Oregon and Colorado — have done this for years. This November, nine states and DC will send all registered voters mail-in ballots.
The Facebook post claimed that Murphy is "only allowing in-person voting on Election Day at Prudential Center in Newark, N.J., "calling it a #SuperPollingStation."
The Prudential Center is being offered as a "super polling site" on Election Day, when voters who don’t want to cast their ballots by mail can show up and vote in person with a provisional ballot.
But it won’t be the only in-person polling site available. Murphy in August specifically mandated that every county provide polling locations on Election Day to give voters the option of casting their ballots in person.
We rate this claim Mostly False.
Facebook post, Sept. 17, 2020
New Jersey Department of State, "How to vote in New Jersey," accessed Sept. 18, 2020
New Jersey Department of State, "Polling place locations," accessed Sept. 18, 2020
City of Newark, "Mayor Baraka, Essex County, New Jersey Devils, Prudential Center, and National Basketball Players Association (NBPA) host press conference about voting process and polling site for 2020 presidential election," accessed Sept. 18, 2020
Essex County Board of Elections, "Poll location report," accessed Sept. 18, 2020
State of New Jersey, "Executive Order No. 177," accessed Sept. 18, 2020
Election Protection, "New Jersey election information," accessed Sept. 18, 2020
New Jersey State Legislature, Senate Bill 2580, accessed Sept. 18, 2020
New Jersey Herald, "Bill would expand use of ballot drop boxes for mail-in voting in New Jersey," accessed Sept. 18, 2020
CNN, "New Jersey to adopt mail-in voting for November, governor says," accessed Sept. 18, 2020
Patch.com, "Newark wants to create ‘super polling site’ at Prudential Center," accessed Sept. 18, 2020
Bergen County, "Ballot drop box locations," accessed Sept. 18, 2020
Politico, "Trump campaign changes strategy in mail-in ballot lawsuit against New Jersey," accessed Sept. 18, 2020
Prudential Center, "Why Newark for your next event," accessed Sept. 21, 2020
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