Gabriela G., Annalee S. and Ed V. are Rutgers University students who eagerly went to the polls to vote in the November 2008 general election. All three had registered to vote, prior to the 21-day deadline, from their college addresses.
However, when they went to cast their ballots, they were surprised to find that their names were not on the voting lists. They were directed to either leave the polling place or to vote by paper provisional ballots, which are checked post-election against the voting rolls. However, they were not informed of the strong likelihood that their provisional ballots would be thrown out, since their names were not in the system.
The irony is that if their provisional ballots were not counted in the intended election, they still served as voter registrations for future elections. The information provided on the ballot was enough to establish voter identity and eligibility. This occurs statewide.
In the 2008 general election, 16,308 New Jersey citizens — many of them college students — cast rejected provisional ballots, which effectively registered them to vote in future elections. That figure represented 22 percent of the total provisional ballots cast in that election.
Full Article: N.J. voters need to be able to register at polls | NJ.com.