Post-hurricane voting a ball of confusion for many Jersey City voters

JERSEY CITY – Despite early, provisional, and online voting options that were made available to New Jersey residents, many Jersey City voters still chose to cast ballots in person on Election Day. But in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, several voters reported having problems when they showed up to cast their ballots.
One downtown Jersey City resident, whose power was just restored on Nov. 5, told the Reporter that she was told to report to 70 Marin Blvd. since election officials were uncertain whether or not her normal polling place would have electricity by Nov. 6.
While she was easily able to find 80 Marin Blvd., she could not find 70 Marin Blvd. and ended up making an unplanned trip to City Hall in search of assistance.
“There were no signs indicating where 70 Marin Blvd. was,” she said.
After searching again for her polling site she found it after passing other voters who had also been reassigned.
“It’s odd because some of my neighbors were told to go to Marin, but some [other neighbors] were told to go somewhere else,” she said.
She wondered whether some voters might be turned away by the confusion and questioned whether other voters would have the time to go searching for a polling place that was not clearly marked.
Other hurricane-affected voters never received information regarding their polling reassignments. Meanwhile, some polling sites elsewhere in the city that were shuttered due to a lack of electricity had signs with a phone number to the Hudson County Clerk’s Office on them. But other closed sites
did not have this information on them, according to residents who contacted the Reporter Tuesday.
The combined chaos could affect the outcome of several elections. In addition to the presidential election, voters will cast ballots for U.S. Senator and U.S. Congressperson. Residents in Ward F will also select a new City Council representative and there is a nonbinding ballot referendum asking voters whether future school board elections should continue to be held each April or move to November. – E. Assata Wright

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