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Ready or Not, Here Comes Election Day

11-5-12

By David Cruz
NJ Today

It’s hard to imagine that many people in some of the state’s hardest hit areas are enthused about tomorrow’s election, but if you’re one of those people who believes that elections are the life blood of democracy, then tomorrow is an important day and how we get through it will say a lot about the strength of our democracy.

“Honestly, I really think it should be postponed,” said Lisa Sanes, who works at Hoboken’s Multi-Service Center, where staff were clearing debris and trying to make their offices, which double as a polling place, presentable for tomorrow. “We have people that just got power on. Some people that don’t even have power. We have seniors who don’t have power who can’t leave their buildings to vote.”

Assemblyman Ruben Ramos, whose house was badly flooded, says his neighbors are actually enthusiastic about getting out to vote tomorrow.

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“Today, three people approached me about where they’re voting tomorrow, so people definitely are aware there’s an election,” said Ramos. “I think they’re anxious to get the election over with after six/seven months of presidential campaigning.”

While officials have been encouraging early voting, and some people did take advantage county clerks offices in Jersey City and Newark, the vast majority of voters are expected to vote in the traditional way — at polling places, and the scramble is on to get them ready. In Essex County, Clerk Chris Durkin says they’re making progress there.

“You know, we’ve seen over the last three days more than 3,000 people come into the hall of records to vote by mail, to vote early, and they’ve come by car, by foot, by bike. They’ve come in wheelchairs,” said Durkin.

In addition to extending the deadline for vote by mail ballots, the state is allowing displaced voters to cast their ballots by fax or even e-mail. Where polling places are uninhabitable — and there are still hundreds of those around the state — the National Guard will set up mobile voting stations. You can get more information on that at the state’s website or by calling 877-NJVOTER.

Efforts to get polling places on line are continuing and will continue well into the night. Officials say if you are still unclear where your polling place will be, you can text the word “where” to 877-877.