The New Jersey Department of State has directed county boards of election to determine by noon Friday which polling places are not likely to be able to host voting Tuesday, and to prepare alternative sites, the department announced Thursday.
According to the announcement, voting locations that have electrical service will hold voting on a regular schedule. The county boards must report locations without power to the state Division of Elections by noon Friday, and coordinate alternative polling places with the division.
The directive sent to county clerks also waived requirements that polling places be located within 1,000 feet of a district's boundary. A polling place could be located more than that distance and outside the voting district, if no suitable locations are found within the district.
The move comes as damage from Hurricane Sandy throughout the state, including power outages and blocked roadways, has forced many out of their homes.
To help facilitate voting, the state also extended the deadline for requesting a mail-in ballot to the end of Friday; the deadline for requests was Oct. 30. Residents can pick up ballots in person at the county clerk's office where they are registered to vote as late as 3 p.m. Monday, according to the Department of State.
County clerks and all election offices are to remain open, at a minimum, from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. beginning Friday, through the weekend and on Monday (Somerset County Clerk's Office will open at 8:15 a.m. and close at 4 p.m. Friday). The state says the clerks have been directed to "take all reasonable measures to inform voters of the extended hours."
State regulations authorizing messengers for state-supported shelters to collect ballots were expanded to allow residents from outside the district the shelter is in to collect ballots for up to 10 shelter residents.