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US Presidential election 2012:Military trucks to serve as polling stations in storm-hit states Last Updated : 04 Nov 2012 09:20:15 AM IST US Presidential election 2012:Military trucks to serve as polling stations in storm-hit states
Military trucks have been called in to serve as polling stations in the storm-ravaged New York and New Jersey to enable citizens to cast their ballot in the November 6 US Presidential elections.
New Jersey officials said they deployed military trucks to serve as polling places on Election Day in storm-battered communities and are also extending the deadline for mail-in ballots.
The trucks will be parked at polling places that don't have power.
Republican Secretary of State and Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno (gwah-DAHN'-oh) said Thursday county clerks' offices have been ordered to remain open this weekend to help process mail-in ballots.
In places, where the polling stations have been damaged,voters "will find a DoD truck with a well-situated National Guardsman and a big sign saying, 'Vote Here.' There is noreason not to vote."
Guadagno said paper ballots would be used where there is no electricity and residents living in shelters would be hand delivered the ballots to enable them to cast their votes.New Jersey has about 3000 polling stations and voting hours are being extended to accommodate those impacted by the storm.
The deadline for when clerks may accept mail-in ballot applications was extended until the close of business Friday. Voters must get them back by no later than the close of the polls Tuesday.
Guadagno says it's unclear how many of the state's 3,000 polling places have electricity, but she'll know better Friday. More than 1.7 million electric customers are without power.
The Board of Elections in New York said its staff hasbeen working around the clock to complete preparations for Election Day.
In New York, arrangements are being made to set upalternate polling centers in areas where there is no power.In New York's Queens borough, where fire destroyed manybuildings, make-shift tents would be used as polling stations.
While New York and New Jersey are considered Obamastrongholds, the damage caused by the storm could delay the counting of votes.
Authorities in the states impacted by Sandy are worried that elections would be the last thing on the minds of millions of residents who are struggling to get their life back in order after the storm caused unprecedented damage.
"The extent of Hurricane Sandy's destruction is impossible to fully describe," New Jersey's Secretary of State, Lieutenant Governor Kim Guadagno, who is responsiblefor overseeing the division of Elections, said.
"For many New Jerseyans, the hurricane's impact may havemade Election Day the last thing on their minds, but we wantto make voting as easy as possible considering the devastatingcircumstances," she said.
Guadagno said polling stations in several counties of thestate are not functioning as they do not have power or have been severely destroyed by Sandy but provisions have been madeto use military trucks as polling stations.
"All the assets that the US President gave to our Governor, including Department of Defense (DoD) trucks will be used to create polling places," she said.
Alternate sites are also being identified in cases wherepolling stations have been completely destroyed, she said.The state also extended the deadline for when countyclerks may accept mail-in ballot applications to the close of business Friday.
Election officials said they could be handed in as lateas Election Day, by the close of the polls New JerseyGovernor Chris Christie is encouraging his voters to take advantage of the extended weekend hours at the state's county elections offices to cast their vote before Election Day.
"Despite the devastation that surrounds many of ourcitizens, we are committed to upholding and honoring our nation's ideals and having an open and transparent election,"Guadagno said.
Source: IANS, Other Agencies, Staff Reporters
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