Lieutenant Governor Kim Guadagno's deadline extension for people to vote by email or fax came as welcomed news to Essex County Clerk Christopher Durkin on Tuesday afternoon.
Similar to other county clerk’s offices around the state, Durkin said the Essex County Clerk’s Office was overwhelmed with electronic votes on Tuesday and there was simply not enough time to process them all.
“We are dealing with thousands, upon thousands, upon thousands of faxed and emailed applications,” said Durkin.
Guadagno announced earlier today to extend electronic voting until Friday at 8 p.m. However, applications still must be sent to county clerk’s offices by 5 p.m. today.
“This will allow more time to ensure people’s right to vote,” said Durkin.
Before the election, Durkin said additional provisional ballots would be given out in each voting district in case polling places were merged. If the ballots are the same in a particular polling place, remaining provisional ballots could be shared with another polling location.
The process to check and verify a single voter’s application received by email or fax takes about 15 minutes, said Durkin. That confirmation process becomes very time consuming when you are dealing with thousands of votes.
“We are doing everything we can to respond to every request,” said Durkin.
The electronic voting was set up for voters who were displaced by Hurricane Sandy, said Durkin. There is however no way to verify who has been displaced and who has not.