The New Jersey Department of State issued a directive on Saturday ordering county elections officials to permit New Jersey registered voters displaced by Hurricane Sandy to vote electronically.
The directive also is intended to assist displaced first responders, whose emergency recovery efforts away from home would otherwise make voting a challenge, according to a Saturday afternoon press release.
“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," said New Jersey Lt. Governor Kim Guadagno.
"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,” Guadagno said in the release. “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.”
To vote electronically, displaced voters may submit a mail-in ballot application either by e-mail or fax to their county clerk. Once an application is approved, the clerk will electronically send a ballot to the voter by either fax or e-mail in accordance to the voter’s preference. Voters must return their electronic ballot either by fax or email no later than 8 p.m. on Election Day, Tuesday, Nov. 6.
Voters can download a mail-in ballot application for their county by visiting http://nj.gov/state/elections/voting-information-vote-by-mail.html. A list of county clerk websites, phone numbers and fax numbers are available by visiting http://nj.gov/state/elections/voting-information-local-officials.html.
Separate directives issued today enable displaced voters and first responders to vote by provisional ballot at a polling place in a county other than the voter’s county of registration. The deadline for county clerks to receive mail-in ballots has been extended to Nov. 19 for any ballot postmarked on or before November 5, 2012. Mail-in ballots post marked later than November 5 will not be accepted.
County elections officials have also been directed to print a sufficient number of provisional and emergency ballots to accommodate voters.
Voters are encouraged to take advantage of extended office hours at county elections offices to cast their vote early and in-person. Registered voters can obtain and cast their ballot in-person at their county elections office up until 3 p.m. on Tuesday. County election offices are to remain open, at a minimum, from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. throughout the weekend, until November 5.
Voters who have a mail-in ballot and choose to deliver their ballot to the county elections office in person must present their completed ballot to their county elections office no later than the close of polls on Tuesday.
Information is also available by calling 1-877-NJVOTER.