FORT LEE, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — The fact that more than 3.5 million voters already cast their ballots by mail in New Jersey meant lines were nonexistent Tuesday morning in Fort Lee.

Kevin Giraldo pulled right up to the secure ballot box to cast his vote-by-mail ballot.

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“A little bit more calmer over here on this side,” he said. “It’s a lot more convenient. I think it’s easier. It’s also a lot safer.”

Those showing up to vote in New Jersey fell into one of three categories.

One was dropping off their vote-by-mail ballot in a secure ballot box, like Morgan Campbell. She said she got the go-ahead form her boss to step away from work.

“Just want to make sure I voted today,” she said.

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Another was having a disability, and therefore access to an accessible voting device.

The third was filling out a provisional ballot. Most people CBS2’s Vanessa Murdock spotted inside the polling place were doing exactly that.

One father-and-daughter duo wanted to vote the old-fashioned way, inside a polling place.

“Like I had explained to her and my son, is that when you vote, try to vote based upon knowledge that you know what these candidates are representing and if they are representing you,” the father said.

Watch Vanessa Murdock’s report — 

Meanwhile, the volunteers there to assist cast their good vibes.

“I’m really interested in what’s going on in America,” said Gennady Brodsky.

Voting was of critical important to everyone Murdock spoke with. One senior citizen made her way slowly to the ballot box and said missing out wasn’t an option.

“Excited. Always say it’s really important. There are people who can’t,” Giraldo said. “Ever since I have been able to vote, I always vote.”

“I’m an avid voter. Every election is important. I think it’s your duty as an American,” voter Melissa Finnigan told CBS2’s Christina Fan.

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This is Election Day was especially monumental for Hong Zeng. From his laughter, to asking a complete stranger to capture him voting on camera, it was evident how much the opportunity meant to him after moving from China to the U.S. several years ago.

“In China, no vote,” Zeng said. “First vote, very important.”

All across New Jersey, ballot drop boxes were stuffed so full, elections officials had to empty them halfway through Election Day.

In Bergen County, the Board of Elections has been opening, separating and scanning approximately 100,000 ballots a day. (Credit: CBS2)

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Because of the sheer number of paper ballots expected to be generated in this primarily vote-by-mail election, Gov. Phil Murphy allowed ballots to be counted before Election Day.

In Bergen County, the Board of Elections has been opening, separating and scanning approximately 100,000 ballots a day.

So when will we know the results?

“The question is always asked, are we going to get the election results  tonight? We may or may not. We all just have to be patient and understand. Let’s get the votes, the properly cast votes, counted,” New Jersey Secretary of State Tahesha Way said.

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Way said there have been no major problems.

Of note on the ballot – voters will decide whether marijuana should be legalized for recreational use for adults 21 and older.

So far, about 3.7 million New Jerseyans have voted, which is on track to setting a new state record.


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