Fair and Welcoming Communities Coalition of Somerset County

Know your rights at the polls, at protests, and in your communities

We are just days away from this year’s presidential election in which it is very likely the results will be contested and the final results will not be determined on election night. It’s more important than ever that we know what to do to protect our rights at polling locations, at protests, and how to respond to increased police or ICE presence in our communities. We are sharing these resources with you in the hopes that you will share with your networks.

We know that the best way to protect each other is through community organizing. The best community protection is preparation – be sure to connect with your local community organizations and share these resources within your networks.

If you will be voting in person at your polling location on Tuesday, here are resources from ACLU (Source: ACLU Voting Rights)

  • If you are questioned about your political beliefs by anyone you do not need to respond. 
  • If you are in line to vote and polls close, you have a right to stay in line and cast your vote. 
  • If you make a mistake on your ballot, you have the right to request a new one. 
  • If the machines are down at your polling place, you have the right to a paper ballot. 
  • The following hotlines are available for any emergency needs:
    • English: 1-866-OUR-VOTE (1-866-687-8683)
    • Spanish: 1-888-VE-Y-VOTA (1-866-839-8682)
    • Arabic: 1-844-YALLA-US (1-844-925-5287)
    • Bengali, Cantonese, Hindi, Urdu, Korean, Mandarin, Tagalog, or Vietnamese: 1-888-274-8683 

If you will be participating in protests, here are resources from the National Lawyer’s Guild (NLG) and from New Jersey Consortium for Immigrant Children

  • If you are stopped by a law enforcement officer, always ask: “Am I detained?”
    • If the answer is “Yes” then you have a right to remain silent. 
    • If the answer is “No” then you have a right to leave. 
  • Once you are detained, you have an automatic right to remain silent.
  • While detained, you also have a right to a lawyer.
  • If you are pulled over on your way from a protest, you have a right to refuse a search. However:
    • You may be ordered from your vehicle. 
    • Upon reasonable suspicion, your vehicle may be searched for weapons. 
    • Upon probable cause, your entire vehicle may be seized and searched.

If ICE is at your door or in your community, see our resource page on how to respond. Here are the most important things to remember:

DIRE Handout

The DIRE hotline number is 1-888-DIRE-SOS or 1-888-347-3767. 

MigraWatch Deportation Defense hotline: The deportation defense hotline from United We Dream is 1-844-363-1423 – use it if you witness an I.C.E. Raid or any other immigration activity in your community.

These unprecedented times, with a second wave of the pandemic, an economic downturn, and anti-immigrant national rhetoric, have asked a lot of us, especially those who have lost loved ones due to COVID19. We know this year’s election will look different from years past with a great deal of uncertainty and the likelihood of contested results. At the New Jersey Alliance for Immigrant Justice, we are checking in with our partners and members to create spaces of support, and we hope you can do the same with your family, friends, and loved ones in the next days and weeks. 

Whatever the outcomes of the election, we will continue fighting for a more fair and welcoming state for everyone who lives here.


New Jersey Alliance For Immigrant Justice 

Maneesha Kelkar, Interim Director

Katy Sastre, Outreach Coordinator

Hera Mir, Communications and Operations Coordinator

Somerset County General Election Guide

[FWCC Somerset received following notice via email on September 22. We are relaying the message in its entirety.]


Clerk Steve Peter Encourages Voters to Carefully Fill Out and Submit Ballots to Ensure Their Vote is Counted.

Post Date: 09/21/2020 11:39 AM

SOMERVILLE, NJ – Somerset County Clerk Steve Peter releases online video and photo tutorials to assist voters participating in the 2020 General Election being held on November 3, 2020. The election will be conducted primarily through Vote by Mail ballots, which will be delivered to every active voter in Somerset County, and the Clerk’s office is working to ensure all voters have the information they need to properly fill out and submit their ballots.

“We want to be sure that every Somerset County voter has the tools they need to participate in this unprecedented election,” said Peter. “These tutorials walk voters through each step of filling out the ballot, ensuring their anonymous vote, and certifying their vote on the envelopes to ensure they are counted.”

The video tutorials feature Peter filling out a sample ballot in both English and Spanish, with subtitles. The photo tutorial is a quick and simple way to click through the process, and see exactly how the ballots should be filled out. 

“Vote by Mail has been used in Somerset County for a long time, but many voters who will be using the process this year are unfamiliar with this kind of ballot,” said Peter. “Every voter deserves to have their ballot counted, and their voice heard. These tutorials are our effort to help voters avoid any technical errors that could delay their vote being counted, or even invalidate their ballot.”

Ballots will be mailed out to every active registered voter in Somerset County from the Clerk’s Office starting the middle of this week through October 5.  If any voter has not received a ballot by October 10, they should call the Clerk’s Office at 908-231-7013 to determine if there is an issue.

Residents can check if they are an active registered voter by visiting the Secretary of State’s site at https://voter.svrs.nj.gov/registration-check or calling the Somerset County Board of Elections at (908) 231-7084. If you discover you are not considered an active voter, you can register online at https://voter.svrs.nj.gov/registration-check or with a paper form available at https://www.co.somerset.nj.us/government/affiliated-agencies/election-board/voter-information

Inactive voters can update their voter registration up to Election Day, November 3, to be eligible to vote with a Vote by Mail ballot. Inactive voters can also visit their assigned polling location on Election Day and vote using a paper provisional ballot. 

Somerset County residents who are registering for the first time must register by October 13 to be eligible to vote in the 2020 General Election. Anyone who does so will be automatically sent a Vote by Mail ballot. 

More information on how Somerset County voters can participate in the 2020 General Election is available at https://www.co.somerset.nj.us/2020general .

FWCC Somerset statement on racial justice

FWCC of Somerset County stands with the African American community in denouncing and seeking justice for the recent murders of George Floyd and others by the police. We are saddened and angry that these killings continue to plague our nation. Now is the time to work to stop the cycle of violence and inaction.

We recognize that creating real and lasting change requires far more than simply making statements. It requires that we understand, acknowledge and address historic, institutional racism against African Americans in particular, and other communities of color such as immigrants. Through our work supporting and maintaining fair and welcoming communities in Somerset County, FWCC Somerset, in partnership with other like-minded groups, is committed to finding solutions and making change a reality.

4/06 Call NJ County Officials to tell them to #ReleaseAllDetainees

Today, we are calling on NJ county officials to do everything in their power to release all detainees and incarcerated because they are at risk of COVID19 outbreak.  We are building on the efforts to #FreeThemAll and calling on NJ county officials to demand they release all detainees.  Please call, tweet, and email these officials at njimmigrantjustice.org/releaseall or see their contact information listed below with the call script.

Bergen County:
Sheriff Anthony Cureton, 201-336-3500Email: [email protected]  Twitter: @BergenCountySo

Essex County:County Executive Joseph N. DiVincenzo Jr., 973-621-4400 Email [email protected] Twitter: @Joe_D_EssexExec Essex County Freeholder Rufus I. Johnson 973-621-4483Email: [email protected]Twitter: @EssexFreeholder

Hudson County:County ExecutiveTom DeGise, 201-795-6000 (specify that you want to speak with Hudson County Executive’s Staff)Email:[email protected]Twitter: @TomDeGise

Call Script:
When you connect over the phone use the script below to guide your message:
Hi, my name is [NAME].I am calling to demand that you do everything in your power to make sure all people detained in your facility are released immediately. [for Bergen and Hudson only ] AND that you cease accepting any new detainees. New Jersey is located in the US epicenter of the COVID-19 pandemic, with the second-highest number of confirmed cases in the country. Bergen County has the highest number of cases and fatalities in the state. Essex County has the second-highest number of cases and fatalities in the state, and Hudson county has the third-highest in the state. Conditions in county jails make it impossible to follow social distancing protocols, as medical experts recommend and the governor’s Executive Order 107 requires. _______ County needs to act now to ensure the safety and well-being of all people in the county, especially those currently detained and incarcerated in its county jail. Acting now to release all those in custody will curb the spread of COVID-19 both within and outside of county facilities, and help make New Jersey safer for all. 

En EspañolHola, me llamo [NOMBRE].Estoy llamando para exigir que usted haga todo lo posible para asegurar la liberación inmediata de todas las personas detenidas en su cárcel, [solo para los condados de Bergen y Hudson] y que deje de aceptar nuevos detenidos. Nueva Jersey se encuentra en el epicentro estadounidense de la pandemia de COVID-19, y ocupa el segundo lugar en número de casos confirmados en el país. El condado de Bergen tiene el mayor número de casos y muertes en el estado, y los condados de Hudson y Essex ocupan el segundo y tercer lugar respectivamente. Condiciones en las cárceles de los condados hacen imposible el cumplimiento con los protocolos de distanciamiento social tal y como los expertos médicos recomienden y el orden ejecutivo 107 del gobernador exige. El condado de _______ debe tomar acción inmediata para asegurar el bienestar de todas las personas en el condado, especialmente las que están detenidas en su cárcel. Actuar ahora para liberar a todos los detenidos frenará la propagación de COVID-19 tanto dentro como fuera de la cárcel, y ayudará a que Nueva Jersey sea más seguro para todos.


Please share the action with your network and tell them why its important to you.
Thank you for all you do! 
New Jersey Alliance for Immigrant Justice

Tell Congress to Welcome Asylum Seekers and Restore Lifesaving Asylum Protections

National Call-in Day Wednesday March 10

Join the Interfaith Immigration Coalition on March 10 for a virtual day of action! Our toolkit provides three easy action tools:

  1. click to call Congress alert;
  2. posts and graphics to share on social media;
  3. support for writing and submitting letters to the editor to your local paper.

Please share the toolkit with your networks in advance, and act with us on March 10 to #SaveAsylum #EndMPP and #RestoreAsylumNow
http://bit.ly/March10Faith4Asylum #Faith4Asylum

Lynn Tramonte
Anacaona LLC
[email protected]
cell 202.255.0551