Memories of superstorm Sandy, for most New Jerseyans, are filled with images of damaged homes and neighborhoods, surging seas and flooded streets, as well as thousands of displaced homeowners and wrecked businesses. Forgotten is the fact the storm took place just days before the most recent presidential election and several hundred thousand voters could no longer cast their ballots the usual way — at their local polling stations.
Storming for the Vote, a documentary produced by the League of Women Voters of New Jersey, details the extraordinary effort by election officials and advocates across the state to make sure as few voters as possible were disenfranchised. It was a chaotic and confusing time, but state, county, and municipal officials did their utmost to be flexible and accommodating to the thousands who wanted to exercise their right to vote.
Provisional ballots were printed, polling hours were extended, the National Guard was deployed with generators, and mobile polling places were made available. Officials even visited sites for the disabled and displaced. The ability to fax or email ballots from outside of the state was also offered to the thousands of people staying with relatives due to the lack of power in their own homes.
Officials are justifiably proud of the result: A total of 67 percent of New Jersey’s registered voters cast their ballots, just 6 percent fewer than the previous presidential election and more than any non-presidential election since 1970.