UNION COUNTY, NJ — A free mobile app called “Union County Votes” has just added a new feature that will allow 17-year-olds the opportunity to download a form that will allow them to pre-register to vote. A button to change party declaration was also recently added. County Clerk Joanne Rajoppi announced these changes, that are now available for all students in Union County.
“It’s important to engage young adults in the electoral process and let their voices be heard,” said Rajoppi, according to a recent press release. “With these new buttons, Union County Votes will provide a valuable service and help young adults to enhance their civics studies in high school during the excitement of a presidential election year.”
The new “Are you 17?” button is labeled with a “17” and a forward arrow to resemble a parkway sign. It will first prompt the user to answer several questions regarding their eligibility to vote and then provide them with a registration form. Once the form is completed, the individual will be registered to vote as soon as they turn 18.
“I wanted to add the feature for the 17-year-olds to help them get invested in the electoral process,” said Rajoppi. “Pre-registering is just one way to do that.”
The “Party Declaration” button is designed to provide voters a convenient way to access a Political Party Declaration Form, if they wish to change or declare their affiliation with a political party. According to New Jersey state law, voters must change their party no later than 55 days prior to a primary election in order to be eligible to vote in that election.
Anyone unaffiliated with a political party can choose to declare their affiliation and vote in a primary election at any time prior to the election date.
“Voting in the primary election is especially important during a presidential election year,” added Rajoppi. “I hope my ideas to add these features to the app will encourage people to participate in the voting process, especially primary elections. We want to give people the tools they need to vote.”
The Union County Votes app is free to download for mobile devices. It is available in both English and Spanish, and it does not capture the user’s personal data. It was first introduced in 2014 by Rajoppi to allow voters access to critical information, including emergency-related polling place changes and other alerts. There is also information about election results as well as a list of candidates.
“When the app was first introduced in 2014, it was the second of its kind in all of the United States,” said Rajoppi. “It was first introduced with the intent of encouraging young people to get involved in the voting process.”
Any Union County resident can confirm their registration and party affiliation status by using the “Am I Registered?” button on the Union County Votes app. There is also information provided about voting locations and applying to work at the polls.