New Jersey residents that were displaced from their homes due to hurricane Sandy will be able to vote in the presidential election through email or fax, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie’s Office announced today.
That means thousands of displaced voters — as well as those helping with recovery — won’t miss their opportunity to elect the next body of government officials Nov. 6.
Hurricane Sandy caused devastating damage all along the east coast, with New Jersey and New York City seeing the most damage. It’s estimated that it will take months for cities in the region to establish anything resembling normal, which presents a big problem with the 2012 presidential election just days away.
“This has been an extraordinary storm that has created unthinkable destruction across our state and we know many people have questions about how and where to cast their vote in Tuesday’s election. 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. Governor Kim Guadagno 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.”
Displaced voters can email or fax a (snail) mail-in ballot form to their county clerk for approval, then submit their electronic ballot back to the clerk prior to Nov. 6 at 8 p.m. ET. My guess is that the process of approval will be hectic with only a few days left until election day.
Voting by email or fax — via absentee ballots — isn’t unprecedented for U.S. citizens to do, but it is a practice that’s usually reserved for those serving in the military who aren’t in the country during the official election day. Only a handful of states permit the use of absentee ballots for people who are out of the country, according to the Federal Voting Assistance Program. However, as Reuters notes, many states do have provisions to allow the practice during a state of emergency.
No new electronic voting procedures have been enabled for New York City residents displaced by the hurricane at this time — meaning those residents will presumably need to physically visit a polling precinct.
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