TRENTON — Another New Jersey county will address the ongoing and chronic low participation in elections by sending out vote-by-mail applications to all voters this fall.

Mercer County Clerk Paula Sollami-Covello says just 12 percent of voters showed up at the polls in the county for this year's primary.

"We have really had a very poor turnout. Very low, in consideration of the fact that it was a presidential election, it was very low." That's out of a possible 230,000 registered voters in Mercer.

So, she says they will join Bergen, Camden and Middlesex counties in sending out vote-by-mail applications to all voters. In other counties, voters can request or fill out applications on their own.

"Our county is excited to undertake this new mailing and initiative. We think that it will help increase voter turnout and participation."

"In Mercer County, we are going to be sending out a vote-by-mail application to every registered voter in the county, and let them know that they have this option. They can vote by mail for any reason: You do not need to be sick, you do not need to be traveling, you can simply choose to do this. We decided to do this after seeing it become very successful in other counties."

Sollami-Covello says they thought that a lot of people do not know that this is an option in New Jersey.

"This is something that is an option, and so we want you to be aware of it."

As an added incentive, Mercer County will pay the postage both ways.

"We are going to be paying for postage for the application to come back to the county, and when we send them the ballot, we are also going to pay for their postage to be returned. I was so pleased because our county Freeholders and county executive approved that payment for people, so that they would not have the actual burden of paying for the postage."

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