Would You Vote By Email, Fax, Online or on Social Media?

Monday November 5, 2012

By Tiffany Black

I live and work in NYC but for the purposes of voting, I am still registered in New Jersey. (Someday I'll change my license.) So amidst the devastation from Hurricane Sandy I'm trying to figure out how to get to New Jersey to vote. I recently wrote an article about if Electronic Voting or even voting for elected officials on Facebook would become a reality. Hurricane Sandy is now pushing the envelope.

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie announced that displaced NJ residents can vote by fax or email. Let me repeat that so it can sink in...voting by fax or email. A resident must submit a mail-in ballot application by fax or email to the local county clerk. When the request is received, a ballot will be emailed or faxed back. Ballots must be returned no later than 8 p.m. Tuesday. The option is already open to New Jersey voters overseas and in the military.

I think that is a "hanging chad" just waiting to happen. First, if people don't have power how are they supposed to fax or email a request? How do you validate a vote received by fax or email? What if multiple requests for ballots come in from the same fax number? I'm assuming the one to one matching of Social Security numbers is how votes will be validated. But Supreme Court, get ready. This is already a tight election. Every vote is going to matter.

As for me, I've rented a Zipcar that I hope will have enough gas to get me to NJ. I'm doing the overnight rental special of the car so I'm not getting charged by the hour by Zipcar, just in case I have to sit in a gas line for hours to fill up. And the car has an odd license plate so I will be able to fill up in NJ according to the rationing rule. This is a tremendous effort just to be able to cast my vote. But it's too important not to make the effort.


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