Sandy has left millions on the East Coast without power. Whole neighborhoods in New Jersey are under water. Public transportation is still at a standstill, and I'm writing this letter to you in the dark.
The election is on Tuesday.
As election day nears, it’s becoming clear that getting to polls will be difficult for many. I live in Jersey City, New Jersey, and I know what’s happening in our neighborhoods. Please, make sure everyone in New Jersey can cast their votes.
For ten years, I've been a teacher at the public elementary school down the street from my house. So when I walk around my neighborhood and hear about the heavy toll Sandy has taken on just the few blocks where I work and live, I know the storm's aftermath will present challenges in all affected areas on Election Day. Downed trees and live wires block our streets; one MILLION residents lack power; gas lines stretch for miles and hours, in Hudson County and down the shore. Things are not easy. New Jersey residents can now vote by email and fax which will allow many people to cast a ballot but what about all those still without power and those living in lower income communities without access to email? They will still need support to get to the polls.
That is why I am calling on the New Jersey State Board of Elections to ensure that everybody will have access to vote this election. To help make sure people can vote, please:
- Move polling places from flooded areas to safer ground.
- Replace electronic voting machines with paper ballots in areas without power.
- Extend voting hours.
- Extend early voting.
- Provide transportation to polling locations for those who won’t have access to public transportation.
- Extend deadlines for absentee voting in the state.
New Jersey is struggling and this recovery will take a long time. Don’t let Sandy take our votes away. Please, do everything in your power to protect our rights.