Here’s a view of the super storm Sandy disruption you may not have heard about — a new step in Garden State voting some think was a big failure. After Sandy, Lieutenant Gov. Kim Guadagno in her dual role as secretary of state told county clerks she issued an emergency order granting any registered voter displaced by Sandy to ability to cast votes via email or fax. Journalist Steve Friess writes the Constitutional Rights Clinic at Rutgers Law School-Newark spent the past 18 months following a public document trail to show how that went. The team was led by law professor Penny Venetis. “There was mass confusion among county officials and voters alike,”‘ the 83-page report, called “The Perfect Storm: Voting in New Jersey in the Wake of Superstorm Sandy,” said.
The report, officially released today, said: “Emergency measures such as Internet and fax voting not only violated New Jersey law, but also left votes vulnerable to online hacking. Internet voting should never be permitted, especially in emergencies when governmental infrastructure is already compromised.”
In his reporting for Aljazeera America, Friess writes in “New Jersey, nobody has an exact count of how many votes were cast via email or fax — which is only one part of the problem with what actually happened — but everyone agrees the number is somewhere north of 50,000.”
Guadagno declined interview requests, referring Friess to Robert Giles, the state’s election director. Guadagno, however, referenced e-voting as part of her success, several clerks told Friess.
Giles too says the estimated number of 50,000-plus votes shows that e-voting was a success: “It shows that the system works, in that you can deliver ballots, and you can get ballots returned via email.”
“Really? They say it went well? Really?” asks Ed Felton, director of Princeton University’s Center for Information Technology Policy.