The election process for PERS Trustee will begin April 1, 2015 and the ballots are shipped to State and County employing locations. Only active STATE employees can vote in the STATE election, and only active COUNTY employees can vote in the COUNTY election. Retirees CANNOT vote.
The next steps:
- By April 1, 2015, Election-America, the vendor who administers the day-to-day details, will send an early email to all State and County employers. Addressed to the Certifying Officer on record, the email alerts the locations that election ballots will be arriving shortly and gives instruction on distribution, where to address questions and how to handle the distribution of the ballots.
- On April 1, the ballots will be shipped to the employers, asking them to distribute them; again, providing information concerning the balloting process at the employer level. Employers are expected to provide confirmation that the ballots have been received and distributed to all eligible employees.
- The voting website and phone lines will open on April 1st. Counting of mail-in ballots will commence April 6th.
- On April 8, the vendor will send another email to the employers, asking that they certify that they have received and distributed the ballots if they have not already done so.
- A week or so later, the email is sent again (but only to those who have not responded).
- Balloting closes on May 31, 2015.
An individual ballot will be addressed to every eligible PERS member. Inside he or she will find personalized credentials that will permit them to cast one vote in favor of their candidate of choice.
There are three ways for a member to cast their vote and instructions will be clearly presented for their use:
- Online – a secure website will be listed for online voting. At the site, they will be asked to provide their unique credentials. A member will be able to vote only once and may not later change a vote once cast. A receipt is generated for the member to confirm that the vote has been received. They may then dispose of their paper ballot.
- Telephone – a phone line will be set up to allow members to cast their vote. They will be asked to provide their credentials, a confirmation number will be generated, and the vote will not be open to change at a later date. They may then dispose of their paper ballot. Numbers are 888-845-2757 for County employees or 888-845-2758 for state employees.
- Mail-in Ballot – The ballot each member receives contains a self-mailer with which to cast their ballot by hand. There is no postage cost associated with the ballot to the member or the employer. Once received by the vendor, the ballots will be tallied by hand. Obviously, there will be a delay in counting paper ballots, as compared to online or phone ballots that are tallied in real time.
There is online help available for employers and members should they encounter a problem. The contact information will be provided with their ballot, and is mentioned below.
Balloting will close on May 31, 2015. Online, phone and paper ballots received after that time will not be counted. The vendor will submit the official results of the elections to the Board office on Friday, June 5th.
Some additional details:
A database was created for both eligible State and County PERS members. This means active contributing members of PERS as of December 31, 2014 according to the posting of the fourth quarter pension reports. Anyone on those lists is automatically eligible to cast a vote.
However, County PERS members who are enrolled as of May 1, 2015, and State PERS members who are enrolled as of May 16 (pay period 12), may also be eligible to cast a ballot. (These will be exceptional cases.) If there is an employee who has no ballot, employers are asked to provide the name and member number to firstname.lastname@example.org. The employee's eligibility will be confirmed, and a ballot will be sent if eligible. If the employee wants the ballot sent to his or her home address, the address must be provided in the e-mail from the employer.
Any ballots that cannot be distributed because a member has retired, has terminated employment, is deceased, etc. are required to be destroyed/shredded. It is not necessary to return them.
If there are any questions about this process, please contact Help+NJPERS@election-america.com. We will monitor the progress of the election and attempt to handle any difficulties as we become aware. The vendor will do the same.