New Jersey Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno issued a series of directives late today that will allow voters displaced by Hurricane Sandy to cast absentee ballots by email and fax.
Guadagno, a Republican, serves as the state's top elections official. In one of her new directives, she instructs county clerks to accept absentee voting applications by fax or email up until 5 p.m. on Election Day and to accept ballots themselves electronically until 8 p.m. that day.
Under the directive, all voters displaced by the storm are deemed to be overseas voters under New Jersey law.
"I am working with State, county, and local officials to address election-day polling issues that have arisen as a result of Hurricane Sandy. Voters throughout the State are encouraged to take advantage of early voting options as made available by County Elections Officials," Guadagno said in a statement.
Earlier today, Gov. Chris Christie (R) explained that many polling places would be open to allow voters to cast paper ballots, with the support of the National Guard.
Another directive will allow displaced voters to go to any polling place anywhere in the state to cast a provisional ballot, placing the burden on local officials to ensure that the voter's actual county of residence receives the ballots. Chris Durkin, the clerk in Essex County, N.J., told WNBC that individuals voting by fax or email will be on the honor system.
New Jersey is not in play in the presidential contest, with President Barack Obama expected to carry the state easily. Sen. Bob Menendez (D-N.J.) is also on the ballot next week, but that contest is not viewed as competitive either. There is a dearth of competition on the House level, as well. The 3rd district race is the only one that has drawn any national interest. But even there, Rep. Jon Runyan (R) seems to be a pretty safe bet for re-election.