What to know ahead of New Jersey’s 2022 primary election

Bernadette Witt, left, and JoAnn Bartlett, right, process and double-check mail ballots

Board workers Bernadette Witt (left) and JoAnn Bartlett process mail ballots for Bergen County in Hackensack, N.J., Wednesday, Nov. 3, 2021. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)

New Jerseyans are headed to the polls Tuesday for the state’s 2022 primary election.

The deadline to register to vote in New Jersey’s June primary has passed. New Jerseyans can find out whether they are registered to vote online.

Voters have until 8 p.m. on Election Day to return mail ballots to their county Board of Elections office in person or drop it off in one of their county’s secure ballot drop box locations.

New Jerseyans who want to vote in person on Election Day can do so at the polls, which will be open until 8 p.m. Voters can find their polling places online.

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What to watch for

This year’s election features more contested primaries, with four of nine Democratic incumbents facing challengers, and more Republican candidates, as the GOP seeks to regain some of the seats it lost four years ago.

A dozen House districts are on the ballot.

Former President Donald Trump said in 2021 he would back a challenger to long-serving Republican Rep. Chris Smith, but that never happened. The absence of an endorsement hasn’t stopped conservative talk show host Mike Crispi, one of Smith’s Republican challengers, from claiming Trump’s mantle.

In North Jersey, former state Senate minority leader Tom Kean Jr. has a fundraising edge and establishment support over five rivals. Kean, the son of former Republican Gov. Tom Kean Sr., is hoping for a rematch with Democratic Rep. Tom Malinowski, who won a close contest two years ago.

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On the Democratic side, U.S. Sen. Bob Menendez’s son, Rob, is running for a seat being vacated by retiring Democratic Rep. Albio Sires. Menendez, a Port Authority of New York and New Jersey commissioner, locked up party support upon entering the race.

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