TRENTON – Officially, New Jersey’s gubernatorial election will be held Nov. 2. However, the process is already well underway, with ballots in some voters’ hands.

Here is a summary of key dates in the New Jersey governor’s race of 2021:

Saturday, Sept. 18: Counties began mailing mail-in ballots to registered voters. Unlike last year, mail-in ballots are being sent only to people who request them.

Tuesday, Sept. 28: Democratic Gov. Phil Murphy and Republican challenger Jack Ciattarelli meet for their first of two debates at the New Jersey Performing Arts Center in Newark at 7 p.m.

Tuesday, Oct. 5: Democratic Lt. Gov. Sheila Oliver and Republican nominee Diane Allen meet for a debate at Rider University in Lawrenceville at 7 p.m.

Democratic nominee Phil Murphy, left, answers a question as Republican nominee Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno, right, during Tuesday night's gubernatrial debate at NJ PAC in Newark (AP Photo/Julio Cortez, Pool)

Tuesday, Oct. 12: Voter registration deadline for the general election. County commissioners of registration will be open late, as will some municipal clerks.

Tuesday, Oct. 12: Murphy and Ciattarelli meet for their second of two debates at 8 p.m. at Rowan University in Glassboro.

Wednesday, Oct. 20: Deadline for counties to mail sample ballots to voters.

Saturday, Oct. 23: Early, in-person voting on voting machines begins. This option is new to New Jersey and will be available in at least three locations in every county. Hours are 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday to Saturday and 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sundays.

Nicole Flaherty stands with her kids as her 7-year old daughter Madelyn places the ballot in the box in the Burlington County ballot box in Cinnaminson on Oct. 7, 2020. (AP Photo/Christina Paciolla)

Tuesday, Oct. 26: Deadline for registered voters to apply by mail for a mail-in ballot.

Sunday, Oct. 31: Last day for early, in-person voting.

Monday, Nov. 1: There is a 3 p.m. deadline for people to make in-person applications for mail-in ballots at their county clerk’s office.

Tuesday, Nov. 2: Election Day. Polls are open from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. It’s also the deadline for mail-in ballots to be received at post offices, drop boxes or delivered in person at county boards of election.

Workers for the Bergen County Board of Elections counting some of the ballots cast early for the 2020 general election on Monday, Oct. 26, 2020. (Screenshot from Bergen County Board of Elections livestream)

Monday, Nov. 8: Deadline for counties to receive mail-in ballots sent through the mail, as long as they were postmarked by Nov. 2.

Saturday, Nov. 13: Deadline for voters who have been notified about a missing or mismatched signature on vote-by-mail or provisional ballots to “cure” their ballot.

Monday, Nov. 15: County boards of canvassers meet to finalize election results.

The New Jersey governor's mansion, Drumthwacket is shown in Princeton, N.J. (Associated Press file)

Saturday, Nov. 20: Deadline for county clerks to transmit election results to the secretary of state.

Thursday, Dec. 2: Deadline for meeting of Board of State Canvassers to certify election results.

Tuesday, Jan. 18: Inauguration day.

Michael Symons is State House bureau chief for New Jersey 101.5. Contact him at

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