November 6, 2012 / 11:52 PM / 5 years ago

New Jersey extends deadline for storm-hit voters

NEW YORK (Reuters) - New Jersey voters displaced by Superstorm Sandy and emergency responders working on relief and recovery efforts will have until 8 p.m. on Friday (0100 GMT on Saturday) to fax or email their election ballots, authorities said on Tuesday.

State authorities took the uncommon step of declaring that voters displaced from their homes by Sandy would be designated overseas voters, allowing them to submit an absentee vote by fax or email.

At least 24 people were killed in New Jersey when the rare hybrid superstorm lashed the U.S. northeast on October 29, swamping seaside towns, flooding the New York City subway and knocking out power to millions of homes. It killed at least 114 people in the United States and Canada.

Voters stand in line in the Forrestdale school cafeteria due to damage at the regular polling stations because of Hurricane Sandy during the U.S. presidential election in Rumson, New Jersey, November 6, 2012. REUTERS/Adam Hunger

“November 9 by 8 p.m. (is the) deadline for first responders and voters displaced from their primary residence ... to transmit to the applicable county board of elections the signed waiver of secrecy along with the voted ballot by fax or email,” said the New Jersey Division of Elections.

According to the Federal Voting Assistance Program, about a dozen U.S. states allow absentee ballots - mainly from overseas voters - to be returned by email or fax, while several more have the ability to allow this in certain emergency situations.ž

“There’s no reason why anybody shouldn’t vote. We’re going to have a full, fair, transparent, open voting process,” New Jersey Governor Chris Christie said on Saturday.

Reporting by Michelle Nichols; Editing by Mohammad Zargham

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