After Hurricane Sandy displaced thousands of voters in New Jersey, the state allowed that displaced voters who could not reach a polling place would have the option of voting by email. ABC News reports that the state had so many requests for ballots on Tuesday that New Jersey has instead extended voting by email through Friday.
The Associated Press reports that the email voting system is the same method New Jersey uses to count ballots for its residents living overseas residents and military personnel. Voters had until 5 pm Tuesday to request a ballot. They can send in their votes by 8 pm Friday
“It has become apparent that the county clerks are receiving applications at a rate that outpaces their capacity to process them without an extension of the current schedule,” Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno, said Tuesday.
Hudson County, for example, received more than 4,000 requests for the email ballots. In addition to the email ballots, which can also be faxed in, New Jersey residents have been allowed to vote at any polling place via provisional ballots. Residents of New York, which was also affected by the hurricane, were also being allowed to cast provisional ballots. Those provisional ballots are counted after a voter’s eligibility is determined.
Hurricane Sandy had knocked out electricity to nearly 800 polling sites throughout New Jersey, but alternatives were quickly established. Still, the email voting deadline was extended to ensure as few voters as possible are excluded.
New Jersey’s residents who vote after Tuesday may be casting their vote in a symbolic measure as the winner of the 2012 election between President Barack Obama and Republican Mitt Romney will likely be known Tuesday evening. Opinion polls showed President Obama was a heavy favorite to win New Jersey’s 14 electoral votes regardless of the email voting.