A Guide For New Voters

By Eunho Jung, Senior Editor

As several seniors at Wayne Hills and across the country turn eighteen, they are now eligible to vote in local, regional, and national elections. Not only this is an important rite of passage for young adolescents, but it is also a crucial step into becoming better global citizens. Voting is the most important aspect of democracy, one that should never be taken for granted. Given our country’s long history of suffrage, in 2021, we should be thankful that every citizen has the right to vote. Granted, felons are left out of this democratic process, which is another discussion that should not be ignored.

Voting for the first time may be intimidating and maybe even discouraging. There are a lot of rules, some that may not even make sense. But, here is a guide that will allow you to be more confident as you participate in this upcoming election.

To register to vote in New Jersey, you must be a United States citizen, seventeen years old (can’t actually vote until you are eighteen), a resident of the county for 30 days before the election, and a person not serving a sentence of incarceration as the result of the conviction of any indictable offense under the laws of New Jersey or any other state.

Although it is too late to register to vote in the State of New Jersey for the upcoming election, you should still be aware of what is on the ballot this year. However, you should still register for future elections. You can register online through this link. For future elections, please be advised that in the state of New Jersey, the registration deadline to vote up is 21 days prior to Election Day. 

Here is what will be on New Jersey’s ballot on November 2nd: Governor, State Senate, State House, school boards, municipal government, and ballot measures.

Governor: Incumbent Phil Murphy (D), Jack Ciattarelli (R)

State Senate: Click here to see a compiled list of candidates

State House: Click here to see a compiled list of candidates

School Boards: The Wayne Board of Education has eight candidates running for office.

  1. Michael Fattal
  2. Harry Prasakos
  3. Evie Wentink
  4. Chung Wallace
  5. Eileen Albanese*
  6. Cynthia P. Simon
  7. Matt Giordano*
  8. Stacey Scher*

*incumbent candidates

Municipal Government: In Wayne, there are three at-large town council seats that six candidates are vying for.

The candidates are:

  • Linda Nardone (D)
  • Cathy Pariser (D)
  • Jason DeStefano (R)
  • David Varano* (R)
  • Jill Sasso* (R)
  • James Freeswick (D)

*incumbent candidates

Ballot Measures: Two statewide ballot measures will appear on the ballot.

  1. Allows wagering on postseason college sport competitions held in N.J. and competitions in which a N.J.-based college team participates
  2. Allows organizations to use raffle money to raise money for their own organization

This year, there are three different ways you can vote.

  1. Vote by Mail Ballot: you can either mail your ballot, drop off your ballot at a secure dropbox location, or deliver your ballot to your county’s Board of Elections office
  2. In-Person Early Voting: early voting will start on Saturday, October 23 and end on Sunday, October 31.
  3. At Your Polling Place on Election Day: on the morning of Tuesday, November 2nd, polls will be open from 6:00 AM to 8:00 PM. Please click here to find your local polling location.

As participants in our democracy, voting is essential to allow your voice to be heard. It is a way to leave your mark on history. No matter how old or young you are, you should be aware of the voting process and always seek to learn more about our governing bodies and how you can impact them.

Kyla Leathers, a senior at Wayne Hills who recently turned eighteen this September, will be voting for the first time in this upcoming election. “I’m excited to be able to vote, but I still need to do more research on the candidates in this election.”