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State Eases Voting Restrictions to Accommodate Storm-Battered Residents

A New Jersey governor's office directive issued Thursday makes it easier for voters to cast last-minute ballots this year.

In an effort to accommodate NJ voters affected by Hurricane Sandy, the governor's office issued a directive Thursday evening easing voting restrictions and ordering election offices to remain open through the weekend.

Per Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno's directive, the state has extended the deadline for mail-in ballot applications -- normally due no later than one week before election day -- to close of business Friday, to make voting more accessible.

Additionally, the state has ordered that county clerks and all election offices remain open from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. from Friday, Nov. 2 until Monday, Nov. 5 to accommodate early in-person voting. By law, voters may apply for and submit in person a mail-in ballot at their county clerk's office until 3 p.m. on the day before the election.

By noon Friday, county boards of election are expected to have identified alternative sites for all polling places likely to be inaccessible on Election Day due to power outages.

"They will know by tomorrow which polling places will be open and which still have power problems," Bergen County Executive Kathleen Donovan said during a Thursday conference call. "There may be some towns where they combine polling places, they may be moved. But everybody will get out the operation and there will be voting."

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