Detailed within a press release from the office of New Jersey governor Chris Christie, the New Jersey Department of State has enacted a new directive that offers the ability to vote electronically to New Jersey registered voters that had to relocate due to the devastation of Hurricane Sandy. In addition to making it easier to vote for Sandy victims, this new directive also gives emergency relief workers the opportunity to vote without have to make a trip back to their home area of New Jersey. In addition to voting by email, sending a fax is also a valid method of voting for New Jersey registered voters.When asked about electronic voting, New Jersey Lt. Governor Kim Guadagno stated “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.”
Guadagno continued “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. 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.”
In order to vote by email, New Jersey registered voters must first send an application to their county clerk over email or fax. This is the same application that’s used for voting by mail. After the clerk approves the application, the voter is sent a ballot by fax or email depending on the preference of the applicant. The registered voter can then complete the electronic ballet and return it to the county clerk. All ballots must be received by November 6 at 8 p.m. Eastern time. Due to the impact on delivery times around the state, the deadline for county clerks to receive mail-in ballots has been extended to November 19. However, all mail-in ballots have to be postmarked by November 5.
According to the Anchorage Daily News, registered voters in Alaska also have the ability to vote over email or fax. Launched during September 2012, this system was put in place to help members of the military stationed overseas vote without having to mail-in an actual ballot. However, it’s also ideal for Alaskans living in remote areas of the state.
Similar to New Jersey, Alaska’s registered voters first have to apply to the electronic voting program through the Alaska Division of Elections. Within 48 hours of the application submission, the Alaska Division of Elections sends out the electronics ballot. The voter can return the completed ballot immediately or wait up until the day of the election.
Depending on the state, state law may allow extended voting hours in areas hit by Hurricane Sandy. Detailed in Time, Thomas Connolly of the New York State Board of Elections stated “We did go through something similar last year with Irene, happened right before Primary Day. We did have to move some poll sites and do emergency ballots, but we still pulled off election day. The worst case scenario is covered by New York state law. If we get less than 25% turnout in any area, we will add an additional day of voting.”