Check here through the day for reports on how Election Day is going in storm-ravaged New Jersey. We have reporters fanning around South Jersey to file reports. Also, NewsWorks, joined by NJ News Commons and other news organizations across New Jersey, is running a public service campaign to track voting problems in the New Jersey following the ravages of Superstorm Sandy.
Voting problems reported in North Jersey
The American Civil Liberties Union of New Jersey is taking Essex County election officials to court over the way special email ballots are being handled. ACLU spokeswoman Katie Wang says the group has had about 25 complaints from voters who requested email ballots but say they have not received them
Associated Press reports the lines are long in Point Pleasant, N.J., where residents from the Jersey Shore communities of Point Pleasant Beach and Mantoloking had to cast their ballots because of damage in their hometowns.
A report from Tara Nurin in Monmouth County:
In Belmar, Monmouth County, a seaside community where at least 70 percent of 5900 year-round residents still lack power, turnout has been steady at the borough’s sole consolidated polling place. Residents have streamed into a room in borough hall all day, checking in at tables designating their normal precinct. Although some of the four usual polling places would be equipped for voting today, even under these unusual storm circumstances, officials decided to conserve limited resources by moving everything to one place. Voters were notified of the switch by mail, by phone and by flyers handed out around town all week. Plus, there were signs posted at all normal polling places.
By most accounts, the process is extremely organized.
“I didn’t have to wait long, and I commend the mayor for his efforts,” said Johanna Robinson, who brought her brother to vote and was planning to return with her father later in the day.
Voting is taking place amidst a flurry of activity at Borough Hall, where officials have set up a distribution center for clothing, food, and cleaning supplies, as well as a check-in point for cleanup volunteers, and FEMA officials are on hand to provide information. Outside the resource area, Red Cross volunteers served hot lunch, and outside the voting room, a pair of brothers who spent childhood summers in Belmar set up a cooking station to give out free chili and hotdogs.
A report from WHYY/NewsWorks’ Alan Tu in Mercer County:
At mid-morning, cars were circling around the designated parking for a temporary polling station set up on Princeton University’s campus.
Seven voting districts that affected by power outages from last week’s storm have been relocated to the Jadwin Gym on campus. That’s producing more voters more than the parking lot could handle.
Inside the entrance of Jadwin Gym Linda Koepplin, watching over District 2 as an election observer, said this was not the usual voting location. “Our normal polling place was without electricity. This is all a direct result of the hurricane.” she said.
Turnout has been strong at Jadwin Gym.
From Deptford, N.J., WHYY/NewsWorks’ Tom MacDonald reports:
At the three polling places inside the old public works building, the morning traffic was brisk. Not a huge turnout but a steady stream. The mood was excited and friendly, and coloring books were being handed out to children who were waiting in line with their parents.
We have set up a NJ Voter Problem Hotline — 732-903-VOTE — where you can leave a message of what kind of problem you’re experiencing. This will be monitored by students at Montclair State University during polling hours on Tuesday, 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. to be used by news organizations of hotspots.
The state is operating its own hotline — 877-NJ-VOTES — which provides prompts in English and Spanish to help with voting. While we will also give help to confused voters, our effort is focused on recording the problems as they come up. To get official help, with a voting problem, call this state number.
We have set up a Crowdmap — NJVote.crowdmap.com — where voters can record their voting problems. Our student operators will also map voting problems recorded on our hotline.
NJ News Commons has a live blog — #NJVote — which will pull in the latest tweets, photos, stories and official updates on the voting situation on Tuesday.