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New Jersey Judge Extends Dedline for Absentee Ballots

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Nov. 8 (Bloomberg) -- New Jersey residents who tried unsuccessfully on Election Day to obtain a ballot through e-mail or fax have until tomorrow to vote after a state judge extended the deadline.

Superior Court Judge Walter Koprowski in Newark yesterday ordered county clerks to continue accepting and processing applications until noon tomorrow for voters who can prove they tried to get a ballot on Election Day and failed.

Voters have to show they were unable to obtain ballots, such as a returned e-mail message or a sheet showing a fax didn’t go through.

The American Civil Liberties Union of New Jersey asked the court to intervene based on complaints from voters displaced by Hurricane Sandy who said they couldn’t obtain ballots from county offices overwhelmed by requests.

Lieutenant Governor Kim Guadagno on Nov. 3 directed that voters displaced by the storm be allowed to vote by fax or e-mail like overseas residents.

Guadagno three days later extended the deadline through tomorrow as long as the request was received by 5 p.m. on Election Day. The directive didn’t provide relief for voters who couldn’t get in touch with their county clerks, the ACLU said.

“The county clerks shall accept and process applications for vote by mail ballot that were submitted in accordance with the lieutenant governor’s directives, but were not received by the county clerk due to capacity limitations or other technical limitations of the county clerk, provided that the displaced voter supplies proof” Koprowski said in his order.

The case is Ertel v. Essex County Board of Elections, Superior Court of New Jersey, Essex County (Newark).

To contact the reporter on this story: Chris Dolmetsch in New York at cdolmetsch@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Michael Hytha at mhytha@bloomberg.net.

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