This article was written in collaboration with Bergen Votes, a student-led initiative focused on increasing voter engagement at BCC.
The presidential election is tomorrow, and while much of the country has voted early in record numbers, there are still millions who will head to the polls or mail their ballot on Tuesday.
This election cycle has been particularly confusing, largely due to efforts to misinform voters.
Bergen students have had historically low turnout, although the 2018 midterms saw a 23.5 percent increase in voting. First-time voters may be especially prone to making a mistake when voting, risking their vote to be marked as invalid.
To help students this election, we have fact-checked a number of common misconceptions about voting:
1) The election may take weeks to be decided.
The truth: Ballots are never fully counted on election night, and counting continues even after a winner is declared. The large number of mail-in ballots will delay the results more than usual, but experts estimate a result should be clear within a week.
2) Putting my ballot in the mail isn’t safe.
The truth: There is a 0.0025 percent chance of mail fraud occurring. Whether you choose to mail in your ballot or drop it off at a ballot box, it will be safe. However, if you are waiting until election day to send in your ballot, we recommend using a ballot box to ensure it is postmarked on time.
3) If I’ve already registered to vote in the past, I don’t need to worry.
The truth: Under certain conditions, you could be erased from the system unknowingly, such as moving or changing your name. You can check if you’re still eligible here.
4) I can vote at any precinct I want on election day.
The truth: You must go to the precinct listed on your Voter Registration Card. To find your polling location, check here.
5) If the voting location is about to close, they don’t have to let you vote.
The truth: You have the right to stay in line as long as it takes to be able to cast your vote.
6) I can wear my political attire to the polls.
The truth: New Jersey bans any form of political campaigning -including any clothing, button or sign- within 100 feet of a polling site. If you experience voter intimidation, see political campaigning near a polling place, or experience any issues, call the Election Protection Hotline (866-OUR-VOTE).
7) If I leave something blank on the ballot, it won’t count.
The truth: Even if you only vote for one candidate on your ballot, it will still count.
If you have any more questions, head to the New Jersey Voter Information Portal.