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Voters in N.Y., N.J. not deterred by superstorm’s effects


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Authorities were also sensitive to concerns about potential disenfranchisement and were taking steps to ensure voters were kept informed of continued problems or changes to their voting locations.

Ernie Landante, a spokesman for the New Jersey Division of Elections, said fewer than 100 polling places around the state were without power compared with 800 just days ago, and said the state has abandoned its earlier plan to use military trucks as makeshift polling places. Most voters will be able to cast ballots at their regular polling sites, he said.

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Landante also said the state had taken extra steps to make sure people displaced by Sandy’s destruction would be able to vote, like allowing "authorized messengers" to pick up as many mail-in ballots as they request for people in shelters or away from their homes.

"We are doing everything we can in this extraordinary situation not to disenfranchise voters displaced by Sandy. Their voices and their votes will be heard no differently than anyone else’s," Landante said.

But authorities abruptly switched gears on an additional directive that Christie’s office announced allowing displaced New Jersey residents to vote through email and fax.

The directive allowed voters to request and file a ballot electronically. But under pressure from voting rights advocates, officials said those voters would have to submit a paper ballot along with the electronic filing — a rule the state’s military personnel and residents living overseas are required to follow as well. Initially, the state was going to waive the paper ballot requirement.

Some regions most affected by Sandy were seeking creative ways to help residents cast their ballot.

In Ocean County along the New Jersey coast, officials hired a converted camper to bring mail-in ballots to shelters in Toms River, Pemberton and Burlington Township. Some 75 people in Toms River alone took advantage of the service Monday, officials said.

"It’s great. This is one less thing I have to think about," said Josephine DeFeis, who fled her home in storm-devastated Seaside Heights and cast her ballot in the camper Monday.

In New York City, authorities planned to run shuttle buses every 15 minutes Tuesday in storm-slammed areas to bring voters to the polls.


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Just 60 of the city’s 1,350 polling sites were unusable and residents who vote in those places would be directed elsewhere, Polanco said. He said if a voter relocated to another polling site didn’t show up on the list of people eligible to vote, he or she would be given a provisional ballot.

Staten Island resident Paul Hoppe said he probably wouldn’t vote. His home, a block from the beach, was uninhabitable, his family was displaced and their possessions were ruined.

‘‘We’ve got too many concerns that go beyond the national scene," Hoppe said.

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Fouhy reported from Washington and Parry reported from Point Pleasant, N.J. Associated Press writers A.J. Connelly, Seth Wenig on Staten Island, Geoff Mulvihill and Bruce Shipkowski in New Jersey and Karen Matthews, Jennifer Peltz and Bebeto Matthews in New York contributed to this report.



Copyright 2014 The Salt Lake Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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