Using a system already accessible to military members deployed overseas, hurricane-damaged New Jersey will allow displaced residents to cast their votes using e-mail or fax on Election Day. “To help alleviate pressure on polling places, we encourage voters to either use electronic voting or the extended hours at county offices to cast their vote,” said Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno said in a statement. “Despite the widespread damage Hurricane Sandy has caused, New Jersey is committed to working through the enormous obstacles before us to hold an open and transparent election befitting our state and the resiliency of its citizens.”
New Jersey suffered the worst of the damage from superstorm Sandy, and thousands remain displaced or without power two days before Election Day. Last week, Guadagno directed county officials to inspect polling replace and report any problems that could arise in opening them on Nov 6.
In the wake of the storm, residents will be able to send in their absentee ballots electronically. The system is identical to mailing in a paper absentee ballot, but instead voters may submit the ballot they download via email or fax.
It’s not new for New Jersey, said Ernie Landante, spokesman for Guadagno’s office. The state didn’t seek approval from the federal government because it utilizes a system that already exists. Instead, the state just used a regulatory process to qualify voters displaced by Sandy under existing law, Landante said.