September 14, 2020


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Newark, NJ – September 14, 2020 – Mayor Ras J. Baraka, Los Angeles Lakers star J.R. Smith, NBPA Executive Director Michele Roberts, New Jersey Devils President Jake Reynolds, New Jersey Secretary of State Tahesha Way, and Essex County Board of Elections Clerk Linda Von Nessi announced in a virtual press conference today that the Prudential Center will serve as a “Super Polling Site” for the upcoming 2020 Presidential election pending final vote by the Essex County Board of Elections. It would accept ballots on Election Day, provide residents with opportunities to register to vote in September, and serve as a location to assist Newark residents with filling out and returning 2020 US Census forms by the September 30 deadline.

Upon approval of the Essex County Board of Elections, the Prudential Center, located at Mulberry and Lafayette Streets, will host a ballot drop box, and serve as a location for voters to apply for a mail-in ballot and vote early. The Prudential Center will also host a voter registration and Census event on Tuesday, September 22, National Voter Registration Day. On Election Day, Tuesday, November 3, the Prudential Center’s main floor is planning to serve as a polling place for Newark residents from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. The parking deck presented by Ford, located at 15 Lafayette Street, will provide free parking to voters on Election Day.

“The 2020 Presidential Election is going to be one of the most critical events in our nation’s history,” Mayor Baraka said. “COVID-19 has created great challenges for this election, but we want to ensure every single resident is able to cast their vote, so that their voices are heard in determining the direction of our country. I thank the State, Essex County, the National Basketball Players Association, J.R. Smith, the New Jersey Devils, and the Prudential Center for this collaborative effort and commitment to the democratic process.”

“Every day, my office and the state’s Division of Elections work closely with our county election officials and community partners to ensure that New Jersey conducts fair and safe elections, especially during this pandemic,” said New Jersey Secretary of State Tahesha Way. “Between now and October 5 your ballot will be sent to you; you have until October 13 to register to vote; and if you are on parole or on probation in New Jersey you can register to vote without paying any fine. Our vote is our voice in our democracy, and we are making sure that every voter can make themselves heard in 2020. We also expect that our voting sites incorporate the social distancing needed during COVID-19.”

The Essex County Board of Elections is working to organize all the logistics and arrangements around the super polling site initiative. Ballots dropped off at the Prudential Center will be accessed and processed solely by election officials. That will diminish the risk of ballots not being counted due to lags in mail delivery. Remember to vote, sign, seal, and return your ballot.

“I am proud and happy to be teaming up with Mayor Ras J. Baraka in his efforts to make Prudential Center a super polling site as well as helping to bring change in our community. I’m looking forward to growing the partnership with the Mayor and encouraging residents in the city and state to exercise their right to vote in every election,” said Mr. Smith, a New Jersey native and NBA star who played a key role in creating this extraordinary collaboration.

NBPA Executive Director Michele Roberts concurred, saying: “Our players have been unequivocal in their support and promotion of easy access to voting throughout their communities. This initiative is just one example of the direct actions being taken by our members, including J.R. We are delighted with this latest partnership.”

The Super Polling Site planned for the Prudential Center will be able to fit more voting districts in this one site to allow for social distancing and easy crowd flow when casting ballots. It will have a satellite office for the Essex County Board of Elections to process ballots.

“Ahead of the upcoming election, we are proud to partner with the City of Newark and State of New Jersey to make the Prudential Center available as a safe, easily accessible option for citizens in our community to exercise their right to vote,” said Josh Harris and David Blitzer, HBSE Managing Partners-New Jersey Devils and Prudential Center. “It has always been important for us to share the Prudential Center’s incredible resources with our community and as such, we are excited to uphold our collective civic responsibility to help citizens cast their ballot, however they may choose.”

“These events are a great opportunity for voters to cast their ballots, and the presence of the boxes will make it possible for ballots to be picked up in advance of Election Day. This will be an exciting experience and everyone at the Prudential Center was more than accommodating,” said Linda Von Nessi, Clerk of the Essex County Board of Elections.

“The sports and entertainment platforms that we have through the Devils and Prudential Center allow us the opportunity and availability to serve our community,” said Devils’ President Jake Reynolds. “No matter who you cast your ballot for, we all have the ability to exercise that fundamental right to go vote.  We are proud to have our group help organize, educate and serve as a civic location in the process.”

For more information on the initiative and how to vote, please visit:

To register to vote online, please visit: