The Different Ways New York and New Jersey Are Helping People Vote

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Hurricane Sandy threw a monkey wrench into New York and New Jersey's voting logistics by flooding polling sites, cutting power at others, and rendering some unusable. But we are humans and we have plan b's, and these are the ways New Jersey and New York responded:

New York

Governor Cuomo's Executive Order: Cuomo yesterday signed an affidavit yesterday that allowed voters in New York City along with Nassau, Rockland, Suffolk, and  Westchester counties to vote at any polling station. His release reads:

Governor Cuomo is signing an Executive Order which provides for a voter who is a resident in the federally-declared disaster counties of Nassau, Rockland, Suffolk, Westchester and of New York City (which includes Bronx, Kings, New York, Queens and Richmond) who have been displaced by Hurricane Sandy

Pretty awesome. But there's a caveat: "Voters who cast their ballots outside their state legislative districts will only be able to vote in the presidential and U.S. Senate races," writes NY1's Courtney Gross. That means if you have a horse in a State Senate race you might want to stick with voting in your district. 

Feedback: Good! New Yorkers like this. Except there's a bit of confusion.  

See, he's winning fans who aren't normally his fans: 

But it's confusing for some people regarding what counts as displaced or affected by the storm. Here's Irin Carmon's take on how that means any resident in an affected county: 

Shuttle Buses: "In New York City, authorities planned to run shuttle buses every 15 minutes Tuesday in storm-slammed areas to bring voters to the polls," reports the AP. "Elections Commissioner J.C. Polanco said the buses would service parts of Staten Island, the Rockaways and Breezy Point in Queens, and the Coney Island section of Brooklyn," the AP adds. 

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Feedback: We're still waiting to hear back. But according to the Board of Elections, they've been running at 15-minute intervals to and from new, makeshift polling sites ( one in Breezy Point is pictured above) since 5:30 a.m. this morning. 

New Jersey

Authorized Messengers: In New Jersey, the government is allowing "authorized messengers" to go and pick up mail-in ballots in state-supported shelters for people displaced in their homes. 

Feedback: No word yet. 

Converted Camper: The AP reports:

In Ocean County along the New Jersey coast, officials hired a converted camper to bring mail-in ballots to shelters in Toms River, Pemberton and Burlington Township. Some 75 people in Toms River alone took advantage of the service on Monday, officials said. The camper will either continue to serve the shelters or be converted into an emergency voting precinct on Tuesday.

Feedback: Good! That's 75 people who got to vote.  "It's great. This is one less thing I have to think about," Josephine DeFeis, who fled her home in storm-devastated Seaside Heights and voted in the camper, told the AP.

Going off of the AP's numbers,  just 60 of New York City's 1350 polling stations are unusable. While New Jersey, the number is less than 100—a marked improvement compared to 800 just a few days ago. And that's good news, converted campers or not. 

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.