NJ extends deadline for voters casting ballots via email, fax

New Jersey's chief election official announced Tuesday that first-responders and people displaced by Superstorm Sandy have until Friday to submit their ballots by email or fax.

Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno said in the Tuesday directive that the deadline was extended after county election offices were inundated with applications from people affected by the massive storm that were interested in voting electronically. The original deadline for people to cast their ballots by email or fax was Tuesday at 8 p.m.

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"The counties and the state are committing all available resources to quickly process email, fax, and mail-in ballot applications and to send qualified voters a ballot," said Guadagno in the directive. "Notwithstanding these efforts, it has become apparent that the County Clerks are receiving applications at a rate that outpaces their capacity to process them without an extension of the current schedule."

"Given this extraordinary volume, if a displaced voter can vote by other means, they are urged to do so," Guadagno added.

After the devastating storm ripped across New Jersey last week, Guadagno issued a directive that allowed first-responders and voters displaced from their homes to vote by casting their ballots via email or fax. They first had to submit a request for a ballot they could send electronically.

The alternative voting system had reportedly been riddled with snags over the past few days. People reported that they received error messages about email inboxes being full — or sometimes no response at all — when they applied to cast their ballots electronically, the New Jersey Star-Ledger reported. Security experts had also raised concern about the safety of people's ballots when they were sent over the Web or fax lines, arguing that hackers could tamper with them, according to The Washington Post.

Although the deadline to submit votes electronically was extended, first-responders and voters affected by the storm still needed to send their requests to vote via email or fax by 5 p.m. on Tuesday.