BY BOB HOLT
New Jersey Senate President Stephen Sweeney said New Jersey’s county clerks were not properly prepared to handle the state’s requests for election ballots after Hurricane Sandy.
Lieutenant Governor Kim Guadagno allowed state residents affected by the storm to vote through e-mail or fax. Sweeney says county clerks told him they received thousands of requests for ballots in days leading up to the election.
“There was no communication with local elections officials,” Sweeney told the Huffington Post. “It was a complete mess." A spokesman for Guadagno said the decision was necessary because of the devastation of the storm.
NJ.com reported that a text alert that told Moonachie voters to vote at the local civic center created confusion, because Sandy had flooded the building.
The hurricane affected more than 150 Bergen County polling locations, and a spot in Mahwah was running short on ballots the afternoon of the election.
The major problem in New Jersey’s electronic voting was that state law requires those voters to also send the paper ballots through regular mail. Many county clerks and the executive director of the New Jersey Democratic Party told POLITICO this week they were unaware of that law.
Those ballots were said to possibly make a difference in a number of local races. Some county e-mail boxes received so many ballot requests on Election Day that the e-mails bounced back. Morris County Clerk Joan Bramhall admitted her area was not ready for the volume of ballot requests. “If in the future this is the way to go, we have to have more notice,” she said, according to POLITICO. “It was an election from hell.”
According to an Associated Press report in the Daily Reporter, New Jersey Senator Nia Gill has introduced legislation would allow voters to cast ballots beginning on the 15th day before primary and general elections until the Sunday before the election.