The special election for U.S. Senate in New Jersey was called just three weeks ago, but some state residents can already begin voting later this week. County election offices must begin sending out vote-by-mail ballots on Saturday, according to a timetable established by the state Division of Elections for the race to fill the seat held by the late Frank Lautenberg. But several county offices said Tuesday that they weren’t wasting time and will begin sending out the thousands of ballots as early as Wednesday—meaning the sprint of six candidates running in the primary is officially beginning. “We start stuffing and we start mailing right away,” said an election official at the Essex County Clerk’s Office, about the vote by mail ballots. “Once we get them, we rock right away.”
Newark Mayor Cory Booker, state Speaker Sheila Oliver and Reps. Frank Pallone and Rush Holt are running for the seat among Democrats. On the Republican side, Tea Party activist Steven Lonegan faces local doctor Alieta Eck.
The primary race takes place on Aug. 13. Voters who have registered to cast their ballots for all New Jersey elections throughout the year by mail will receive the ballot automatically. Once a voter receives the ballot, they can cast their vote by mail immediately.
Those who chose to vote by mail specifically for the special Senate selection must apply by Aug. 6. Ballots must be returned by Aug. 13 at 8 p.m