Contact: Terry West, 609-278-7161

It is the time of year when candidates for elected office may stop at your doorstep asking for your vote.  This is because we are nearing November's General Election which is slated for November 4, 2014.  As an election official that prints ballots and handles vote-by-mail applications for voters, I thought it was important to remind you that voting is a right and a privilege to citizens of the United States which should never cost a voter money.   In fact, if you are 18 years of age, or will be age 18 before this year's Election Day, you can register to vote for the November election by filling out a voter registration form on the Mercer's "County Clerk" website or "Superintendent of Elections" Website, or on the State "NJ Division of Elections" Website by October 14th, 2014.  Such registration is done as a government service, at no cost to the voter.

I recently learned of a website that offers to register voters for a fee of $9.95.  This website, called "IWantToVote.com", asks you to submit your personal information to the website and then the same company fills out your voter registration and sends it to the State for processing. This service, while not illegal, is asking you to pay for something that is already offered by government agencies at no fee whatsoever. There is no reason for you to pay an internet company to do what is already a free service that is also available online.  In fact, the State Division of Elections website also offers voter registration in five languages, including English, Spanish, Indian, Korean and Chinese.

Generally, the rules for voter registration are that you must be a U.S. citizen at least 18 years old and have lived in the county where you intend to vote for 30 days prior to Election Day.  You may freely obtain the registration forms from the Office of the Mercer County Superintendent of Elections, Cathy DiCostanzo, or from my office, Mercer County Clerk, both at www.MercerCounty.org, or from your local Municipal clerk, as well as from the State website,  http://www.njelections.org/voting-information-voter-registration-forms.html. You may also obtain forms at the Mercer County Connection at the Hamilton Square Shopping Center on Highway 33 & Paxson Avenue in Hamilton.  The County Connection office offers evening and Saturday hours for your convenience.

The same offices and websites offer vote-by-mail applications which you can fill out and send in to my office, once you are a registered voter.  A ballot will then come to you in the mail.  Voting has really never been more convenient!

On another note, please be aware that school board candidates and questions will also be on the General Election ballot again this November for all towns in Mercer County.  This means the General Election ballots will contain Federal, County, local and school candidates and questions.  Ballots will be quite full, so please make sure you review your sample ballots when they arrive in the mail, and read the ballots carefully to avoid missing any information.