Contact:Paula Sollami Covello
(609) 989-6998

Clerk Paula Sollami Covello reported today the Mercer County Clerk's Office processed and sent out a record 2307 absentee ballots for Tuesday's February 5th Presidential Primary election, a new record for Mercer County primary elections.

"The rising number of absentee ballot applications was likely due to: (One) the excitement of the "Super Tuesday" Presidential Primary for New Jersey whereby voters had a major voice in the presidential primary process, rather than having to wait until June, (two) it is no longer a requirement that one must be sick, infirmed or out of town to vote by absentee ballot. In New Jersey, voters are now permitted to vote by absentee ballot, for any reason, (three) permanently disabled voters can now simply check a box on their ballot applications to automatically receive a ballot application for future elections and, (four) it is now viewed by many citizens as a very convenient form of voting," said Mercer County Clerk Paula Sollami Covello.

"Less than four years ago, during New Jersey's last Presidential Primary in 2004, there were 337 votes cast by absentee ballot in Mercer County. For February of 2008, absentee ballot voters returned and cast 1633 votes during Tuesday's primary election," noted Sollami Covello. "Therefore, a substantial 71% of all absentee ballot applicants cast their vote in Tuesday's primary - a very high rate of voter participation," added Sollami Covello. The reason remaining voters often do not return their absentee ballots are many. Some permanently disabled voters who automatically requested absentee ballot applications did not vote, because they did not want to declare a party affiliation or just do not vote in primary elections. Other absentee ballot voters may simply have not mailed their ballots back in time to be counted on election night.

The Mercer County Clerk's office continues to provide absentee ballot applications and voter registration forms throughout the entire year, Monday through Friday during business hours at the County Clerk's Office, 209 South Broad Street in Trenton. In addition, one can also apply for an absentee ballot or register to vote at the recently opened Mercer County Connection located at the Hamilton Square Shopping Center on Highway 33 & Paxson Avenue in Hamilton. The County Connection satellite office offers evening and Saturday hours for the convenience of Mercer County residents.

For further information on absentee ballots or voter registration, Mercer County residents are encouraged to visit www.mercercounty.org and click on County Clerk.