Two weeks after Hurricane Sandy wreaked havoc on the state and 10 days after the election, county election officials are still counting ballots, hoping to make their election certification deadline next Wednesday. Thanks to high voter turnout and an unprecedented set of voting opportunities, election officials in New Jersey’s 21 counties are trying to certify thousands of ballots cast by email and fax. “We followed the requirement that was set forth by the Lieutenant Governor,” said Robert Pantina, the Bergen County Clerk Chief of Staff. “The only reason for a rejection would be if the signatures did not match or if we couldn’t find the voter in the state registration system.”
Pantina said county officials sent out nearly 2,000 electronic ballots and processed even more. Bergen County has the largest population of all of New Jersey’s counties. The volume of ballots is the result of the state’s historic initiative to ensure a vote for anyone dealing with Sandy-related logistical issues.
Lieutenant Governor Kim Guadagno issued a directive last Friday, Nov. 9, extending the deadline for county-level certification of election results until next week. Before Sandy hit, the county board of canvassers were supposed to certify election results by Tuesday, Nov. 13. In addition, it compounded the problems of election officials who already were busy trying to straighten out mix-ups over the state Motor Vehicle Commission voter-registration process.