Jul 29, 2014

Essex County Clerk: The Election Is On

Christopher J. Durkin said municipalities will offer additional paper ballots and may consolidate polling places to make sure everyone can vote despite the storm.

Essex County Clerk: The Election Is On

Hurricane Sandy can't stop the election.

"People are wondering if the election is still on. It absolutely is," said Christopher J. Durkin, the Essex County Clerk, who said he has been meeting with municipal clerks to find ways to make sure people can vote on Tuesday, Nov. 6.

"It's going to be county by county," he said. "Each county has its own unique obstacles and circumstancs."

With a close national election and dozens of municipal races, local and county election workers are challenged to open polling places a week after the devastating storm left entire municipalities without power.

"This is unprecedented," said Durkin, who added that each town will look for the best solutions for its voters. For example, he said, Glen Ridge and Fairfield's polling places have power, while many in other cities do not. Durkin said municipal clerks may not know until the day before elections which sites will be open.

In some cases, he said polling places may be merged so voters do not have to travel too far to cast their ballots. In all cases, he said additional provisional ballots will be given out in each voting district. If the ballots are the same in a particular polling place - remaining provisional ballots can be shared with another polling location.

"Each town clerk will have an abundance," he said.

Durkin said there are 306 polling places in Esex County, but it may be right up to the wire to know which ones will be open on election day. He said, "We are going to be working straight through Monday."



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