Hurricane Sandy is going to set yet another brand new precedent. Going into uncharted territory, state officials have agreed that residents who have been displaced by the massive storm that ravaged the state last week will be able to cast their votes for president through email.
Email voting isn’t a completely unheard of process. It has become a relatively common practice as a way for citizens who are on active military duty to cast their ballots. But the system has never been used to allow civilians who are actually still in the state to vote.
All the legal fine print about election day is actually pretty flexible. States can alter their voting practices and the law does make way for there to be differing election days for different states. But putting any sort of radical measure in place would be met with strong pushback and delays from other states.
As a result, New Jersey is committed to allowing its residents to vote on time, but is coming up with all sorts of ways that would not require people to get to physical polling locations. The first thing that officials recommend is early voting. It is possible for citizens to go to their local county office and cast their vote before election dat.
Tuesday will be a logistical nightmare, with countless polling sites either without power or worse, having been destroyed in the storm.
Email voting will work similar to provisional voting, meaning those who submit a ballot electronically will not be counted in the running totals you see on TV Tuesday night. Rather, they will be counted several days later to ensure there was no voter fraud, and thus will really only come into play if the race is a dead heat. That isn’t expected to happen in New Jersey; Obama should handily win the state even with these extenuating circumstances.
Via NBC News