PHILLIPSBURG, N.J. - New Jersey is rolling out major changes to its election process. With less than five weeks until the general election, county election officials are busy securing new equipment and extra staff.

For the first time ever, New Jersey voters will be able to cast their ballots in-person, before Election Day.

"Early voting will begin October 23," said Warren County Board of Elections Administrator William Duffy.

Early voting goes through October 31. It's meant to give more people the opportunity to vote.

It's a big year after all: the Garden State is one of two with a gubernatorial election.

Early voting also means the transition from paper to electronic poll books. Those speed up the check-in process, and allow voters to go to any of the early voting locations in their county, since all residents are in the electronic system.

But, making all of these changes hasn't been easy.

"It has been a challenge," said Duffy. "In most states that roll out early voting and poll books, there's usually a three-year period to roll it out. We're doing it in eight months."

Then there's issues with staffing.

While poll workers were already hard to find for just one Election Day, they're now needed for those nine days in October.

"I know statewide that some other counties are having some really difficult times getting poll workers, but Warren County is in good shape," said Duffy.

That's because Warren County is only down 25 to 30 poll workers.

Hunterdon County still needs 70. Its elections administrator says while there was an incentive bonus for the primary, there isn't for the general election. So between fear of COVID-19 and working 15 hours for $200, less people are interested.

"We know we're all in the same boat," said Duffy. "We're going to either succeed together or fail together."

Counties are collaborating on solutions, so even though there's still a lot to do, Duffy is hopeful they'll pull it all off.

Duffy adds that if you are voting early, it saves time if you bring your sample ballot.

"If you bring your sample ballot along, you scan it in, you come right up and the process is a lot quicker than if they have to do the typing," said Duffy.

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