Voting Machines

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The information below is valid for most elections, but due to COVID-19 voting in person is extremely limited for the 2020 General election, and there will be no voting on a machine except for voters in need of assistance due to a disability.  The most prevalent way to vote is using a vote-by-mail ballot submitted by US Mail, at one of 13 ballot drop boxes in Somerset County, or by bringing your ballot in person to the County Administration Building at 20 Grove Street in Somerville from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on weekdays by November 3. Voters can also bring their ballot to their assigned polling place on November 3 from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. and hand their ballot to a poll worker. 
 More information on the 2020 election is available at 
Covering all the topics below:

Voting Rights

  • You can vote in the voting machine if your complete voter registration information is in the poll book.
  • You can vote in the voting machine if you currently live in the election district or moved out of Somerset County after the close of registration for this election. (Thereafter you must be registered in your new county).
    You can vote in the voting machine if there are no successful challenges to your right to vote.
  • You have the right to vote in private in the voting machine.
  • You have the right to bring voting materials into the voting booth to help you vote.
  • You have the right to a “reasonable” amount of time to cast your votes.
  • You have the right to vote if you are in line at the time the polls close.

Emergency Ballots

  • Emergency ballots are used ONLY if the voting machine malfunctions. If the voting machine malfunctions and cannot quickly be repaired, the voter will be issued an emergency ballot.
  • The poll worker must first call the Somerset County Board of Elections for authorization to use this paper ballot.
  • Once the ballot is voted, the voter will seal the ballot in an envelope provided by the poll worker. The poll worker will then put the sealed envelope in the ballot box located on the voting machine. The emergency ballot will be returned to the Board of Elections at the close of the polls.
  • If you spoil the emergency ballot while voting it, you have the right to ask the poll worker for another ballot.

Provisional Ballots

  • A provisional ballot is typically issued when for some reason the voter is not permitted to vote on the voting machine.
  • You must vote by provisional ballot if you are a registered voter in Somerset County who moved within the county and did not notify the Board of Elections before election day of your new address.
  • You must vote by provisional ballot if your registration information in the poll book is not complete. This includes, but is not limited to a missing address or a missing signature.
  • You must vote by provisional ballot if you are a first-time registrant by mail after January 1, 2003 who has not provided identification information.
  • If your voter registration form is missing ID, ID must be submitted to the Somerset County Board of Elections by the close of business on the second day after the election.
  • If you are issued a provisional ballot, the poll worker will provide you with a place to vote the ballot in secret.
    Once the provisional ballot is voted, place it in the envelope provided and sign and complete the “Affirmation Statement” that is attached. If the voter does not sign the “Affirmation Statement” the ballot will not be counted.
    The provisional ballot is then placed in the ballot bag by either the voter or the poll worker.
  • If you spoil the provisional ballot while voting it, you have the right to ask the poll worker for another ballot.

Voting Instructions

  • After entering the polling site, locate the table with your district. Give the poll worker the name as you are registered. Sign in the poll book.
  • The poll worker will then have you fill out a Voting Authority slip. When this is complete, take your place in line to enter the poll booth.
  • Enter the booth and select the candidate by pressing the square button to the right of your choice. At this time a green arrow will appear pointing to your choice. To change your selection, press the square button again and the green arrow will disappear.
  • To cast a write in vote, follow these simple instructions:
    • Press the button in the write-in block under the appropriate contest.
    • Then type in the name of the candidate of your choice on the write-in keyboard.
    • The name will appear in the display panel – then push enter.
    • To change a selection, press the button again.
    • The green arrow will disappear and you may make a new selection.
    • You must then press the “CAST VOTE” button located in the lower right corner to record your vote.
  • Vote the entire ballot if desired, when finished, press the “cast vote” button and promptly exit the booth. Once the “cast vote” button is pressed your vote is registered with the machine. You do not have another chance, so review your choices before pressing the button.

The Somerset County Board Of Elections has been using Sequoia Electronic Voting machines for more than ten years. These voting machines have received both Federal and State certification and approval for use in elections. Sequoia voting machines Proprietary firmware provides a high-level of security. Tactile switches, visual indicators and an LCD message display provide confirmation to the voter that the machine has correctly recorded the voter's selections. Our ballots feature easy-to-read type and all machines are completely wheel chair accessible while being easy to operate and maintain. A built-in 16+hour battery back up provides uninterrupted service in the event of electrical failure. Somerset County uses this state of the art equipment to provide our voters with a smooth, accurate worry free voting experience. We will continue throughout the year to make available the best possible means for our voters to have a safe, fair election process.