Tag Archives: Hurricane Sandy


“Storming for the Vote: Hurricane Sandy and the Election”

The League of Women Voters of New Jersey has produced a documentary called “Storming for the Vote: Hurricane Sandy and the Election.” The film tells the story of the extraordinary efforts of advocates, government officials, and an energized and motivated public working together following the devastation of Hurricane Sandy to ensure citizens displaced or disrupted by the storm were able to exercise their right to vote.

On October 29, 2012, Hurricane Sandy hit New Jersey with an incredible force. By the next morning, one week before the election, millions of New Jersey residents were without power, displaced from their homes, and overwhelmed by the storm. Some 800 polling places throughout the state were without power.

“We never faced a situation like that before,” said Kerry Butch, Executive Director of the League of Women Voters of New Jersey. “Election officials were without power, new directives were being issued from the state almost daily, and our voter hotline was ringing off the hook with voters concerned about not being able to cast a ballot on Election Day. We knew it was important to document.”

Award winning filmmaker Christina Eliopoulos interviews policy experts from the ACLU-NJ, Disability Rights New Jersey, The Hall Institute for Public Policy, the Lowenstein Center for the Public Interest, and the League of Women Voters of New Jersey. Dramatic news footage and videos from citizen journalists are combined with candid interviews with voters from across the state.

The organizations featured in the film tell the stories of hundreds of thousands of people assisted in the aftermath of the storm.

“More than 13,000 New Jersey residents called the Election Protection national hotline for assistance in the aftermath of Sandy,” said Catherine Weiss, chair of the Center for the Public Interest at Lowenstein Sandler, which ran the hotline covering New Jersey. “Their determination to vote even while thousands were displaced from their homes set a model for all citizens to follow.”

“In the days after Sandy, the ACLU-NJ’s office was inundated with calls from residents who were determined to vote, even though they had been displaced and their lives thrown into chaos,” said Alexander Shalom, senior staff attorney. “This film shows the extraordinary efforts that public officials and citizens took – amid flooded streets and flattened homes — to preserve democracy.”

“Disability Rights New Jersey through this film produced by League of Women Voters, highlights the additional struggles and barriers of individuals with disabilities, an already underrepresented voting group, in their efforts to obtain access to the vote following the storm” said Mary Ciccone, Disability Rights New Jersey’s managing attorney.

Election officials from Hoboken and Ocean County, two areas hard-hit by the storm, are also featured in the film.

“The League of Women Voters did an exceptional job producing a documentary that captured the emotional and devastating impact that Sandy had on our County as well as showcasing the great spirit of our residents to cast their votes despite the obstacles faced after the storm,” said Ocean County Clerk Scott Colabella.

A number of screenings and panel discussions are scheduled to coincide with the one year anniversary of the storm and can be found on the League’s website, http://www.lwvnj.org.

“There was no dress rehearsal for this situation and election officials had to think quickly,” said Butch. “Watching this documentary a year after the storm, I am still amazed by the resiliency, passion, and dedication of our residents, officials, and organizations.”

The League of Women Voters of New Jersey has created a community discussion guide, available at http://www.lwvnj.org, which is useful to groups and organizations wishing to arrange screenings and lead discussions. It is also particularly useful to teachers that wish to screen the film in the classroom. If you are interested in holding a screening, please contact the League of Women Voters of New Jersey at 609-394-3303 or jburns@lwvnj.org.

Join the League as we honor Hurricane Heroes

The League of Women Voters of New Jersey will hold a cocktail reception and awards ceremony honoring Hurricane Heroes on May 3 at the Westin Princeton at Forrestal Village. These individuals and organizations worked tirelessly to ensure that New Jersey voters could participate in the 2012 General Election during the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy.

“The destruction cause by Hurricane Sandy could have been devastating to our general election process,” said Toni Zimmer, President of the League. “There were 800 polling places initially without power, and thousands of voters were displaced. Our state is made up of 565 individual municipalities, with just as many local municipal clerks, yet somehow they all managed to work together with county and state officials to assist many of the 5,4 million registered voters of New Jersey whose opportunity to vote was jeopardized by the storm.”

Honorees include:

  • Robert Giles, NJ Division of Elections
  • Alexander Shalom, American Civil Liberties Union of New Jersey
  • Mary Ciccone, Disability Rights New Jersey
  • Catherine Weiss, Lowenstein Center for the Public Interest
  • NJ County Election Officials and County and Municipal Clerks
  • Volunteers and members of the League of Women Voters of New Jersey

“These individuals and organizations took extraordinary measures to ensure New Jersey’s citizens could exercise their right to vote, in ways we thought would never be possible,” said Zimmer. “They deserve our gratitude and I hope the public will join the League in thanking them for their service and commitment to democracy.”

The reception will begin at 6:00 pm and is open to the public, with a $125 registration fee. You can find more information and register here or call the League of Women Voters of New Jersey at 609-394-3303.

Hurricane Sandy and the Election

The election will be held Tuesday, November 6, as planned. Polls are open from 6 am – 8 pm.

Displaced voters and first responders have multiple options to make voting easier.

1. Vote early at your County Clerk’s Office:

All County Clerk’s offices are mandated to remain open, at a minimum, from 8:30 am to 4:30 pm today, Sunday November 4. They will also be open tomorrow, Monday, November 5. Voters are encouraged to take advantage of the extended hours offered at their County Clerk’s office.

Voters may go in person to their County Clerk and vote using a “Vote by Mail” ballot. You will be handed that ballot right there at the office and be able to fill it out in person. The deadline to vote in person using a “vote by mail” ballot at your county clerk office is Monday, November 5, 3 pm.

FIND YOUR COUNTY CLERK (Please Note: The Ocean County Clerk information listed on that link is incorrect. Because of the storm they are located in the Ocean County Administration Building, Rm 116, 101 Hooper Ave, Toms River, NJ. They also have a second location at 179 S. Main Street, Stafford, NJ.)

2. NEW – Apply for and receive a “Vote by Mail” ballot electronically:

Read the full release from the Governor.

To vote electronically, displaced voters may submit a mail-in ballot application either by e-mail or fax to their county clerk. Once an application is approved, the clerk will electronically send a ballot to the voter by either fax or e-mail in accordance to the voter’s preference. Voters must return their electronic ballot – by fax or email – no later than November 6, 2012, at 8 p.m.

Voters can download a mail-in ballot application for their county here. 

A list of county clerk websites, phone numbers and fax numbers is available here. 

The deadline for county clerks to receive mail-in ballots has been extended to November 19, 2012, for any ballot postmarked on or before November 5, 2012. Mail-in ballots postmarked later than November 5 will not be accepted.

3. NEW – Vote on Tuesday in a different polling place using a provisional ballot:

Directives issued by the state today enable displaced voters and first responders to vote by provisional ballot at any polling place in the state.

Read Directive.

This means if you are a registered voter in the state of NJ and you are staying in a different part of the state because of the storm you may go to a near by polling place on Tuesday and vote there using a provisional ballot.

Polling Places

Some polling places will be relocated.  A directive issued yesterday requires that all polling place changes are posted on county websites and the League of Women Voters of New Jersey is notified. We will know every polling place change and post them by county on our homepage. You may also call us at 1-800-792-VOTE(8683) with questions about your polling place. 

Mobile Polling Place Locator: To find your polling place text WHERE to 877877.

According to state officials, it will be updated every two hours. It may not reflect changes yet, so keep checking back.

Additionally, if your polling place has been relocated, there will be notification posted at your original polling place directing you to the relocated polling place. State officials have announced that they will deploy military vehicles to serve as polling places in some areas.

If you have any questions call the League of Women Voters of New Jersey’s toll-free voter assistance hotline, 1-800-792-VOTE(8683). We have extended our hours to help more voters and we are in the office today, Sunday, from 9 am – 4 pm. Our hours on Monday are 8:30 am – 4:30 pm. On election day, Tuesday, November 6, we staff the hotline all day while the polls are open (6 am – 8 pm).

You may also reach us through Facebook  at any time.

The League of Women Voters of New Jersey is doing everything possible to make sure NJ  voters are able to cast a ballot.

Thank you and stay safe.