Arik Hesseldahl

Recent Posts by Arik Hesseldahl

New Jersey Gives Its E-Voters — and Voting Officials — More Time

Voters in New Jersey who have been displaced by Hurricane Sandy now have until 8 pm Friday to return their email and fax ballots under a directive issued by the state’s lieutenant governor.

The order comes as voting offices experienced an enormous crush of requests for ballots that they’ve been unable to process. One county alone has more than 2,000 requests for electronic ballots to process, according to this story from the Bergen Record.

The one deadline voters still have to meet by today is to get their requests in to their local county clerk’s office by 5 pm today local time.

Election officials have until noon on Friday to process all those requests. Filled-out ballots had previously been expected by no later than 8 pm tonight. The extension gives voters an additional 72 hours to get them turned in.

It’s hard to know exactly how many voters have been displaced by Hurricane Sandy, which stormed through the Northeast last Monday, killing more than 100 people, causing severe damage in many coastal communities and knocking out power to millions of households, including much of New York City.

But the extension essentially means that New Jersey’s final vote tally won’t be known until the weekend at the earliest. While the result of the presidential race there is reasonably assured — President Obama is expected to carry the state and its 14 electoral votes — there’s a Senate race and numerous local and state offices being contested as well.

Gov. Chris Christie, who’s turned into a bit of a bipartisan political superhero during the crisis, said that the number of people requesting electronic ballots should actually be small and that most voters should opt instead to show up at the nearest polling place in person. As quoted by the Record: “If you haven’t been displaced by the storm, get your butt up and go vote at your polling place.”

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Just as the atom bomb was the weapon that was supposed to render war obsolete, the Internet seems like capitalism’s ultimate feat of self-destructive genius, an economic doomsday device rendering it impossible for anyone to ever make a profit off anything again. It’s especially hopeless for those whose work is easily digitized and accessed free of charge.

— Author Tim Kreider on not getting paid for one’s work