Sandy-hit New Jersey residents can vote by email, fax

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New Jersey, Nov 5 (IANS) Displaced voters in New Jersey, worst hit by last week's superstorm Sandy, would be allowed to cast absentee ballots by email and fax or go to any polling place in the state to cast a provisional ballot in Tuesday's presidential poll.

Displaced voters will count as "overseas voters," and will follow the same practices currently in place for New Jersey voters serving overseas in the military, New Jersey Lt. Governor Kim Guadagno announced Sunday.

A spokesperson for Guadagno's office told Politico it's not a new system. The state is simply using a regulatory process to qualify voters displaced by Sandy under existing law. But it's the first time civilian voters in New Jersey have been allowed to vote electronically.

According to a directive released by Guadagno, such voters would be allowed to cast absentee ballots by email and fax until 8 p.m. Tuesday. Voters will be able to submit voting applications until 5 p.m.

Other steps include extended county election office hours for early in-person voters, extra support at polling places, and allowing displaced voters to use polling locations in other counties.

New Jersey Governor Chris is encouraging early voting to reduce the time it will take to tally votes after the polls close Tuesday at 8 p.m.

New Jersey's barrier island communities were hit particularly hard during superstorm Sandy, leaving many residents displaced and thousands of homes and businesses still without power.

This has raised concerns that many voters might find it too difficult to vote.

Meanwhile, in New York City, 59 of the 1,256 polling locations have been moved or closed. Most were in coastal areas of Brooklyn and Queens or other neighbourhoods where buildings normally used for voting had been turned into shelters.

Voting machines have been hurriedly put into place in new locations and hundreds of emergency generators have been rushed into place to ensure power at polling places, even if the neighbourhoods around them are still dark.