Will New Jersey be ready to vote?

Posted: November 01, 2012

Life at the Jersey Shore won't be back to normal by Election Day, but election officials across the state are scrambling to make sure every vote gets counted next week.

Dozens of polling places, possibly even more, are without power, under water, or simply gone on the hardest-hit barrier islands, officials said.

"In Sea Bright, the police department is gone. The fire department is gone too and it was a polling place. We know that is going to be relocated," said Claire French, the Monmouth County clerk.

Even in mainlands counties, such as Essex, officials still do not know if power will be restored at their typical polling places.

"Anyone that doesn't have power, we're gonna bring in generators. Either way, the election is gonna happen," said Dennis Kobitz, president of the New Jersey Association of Election Officials.

Kobitz said residents of Seaside Heights, a resort community hit with catastrophic losses, will be able to vote in nearby Toms River.

On Wednesday, after he toured Brigantine, Atlantic County, with President Obama, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie said restoring polling stations wasn't his top priority.

"Yeah I'd like to have it back and it's certainly on the list but it's behind water facilities, waste water treatment facilities, hospitals, schools. It's behind those things," Christie said at an evening press conference.

Despite Christie's win in 2009, New Jersey hasn't voted for a Republican presidential nominee since 1988.

Contact Jason Nark at narkj@phillynews.com or 215-854-5916. Follow him on Twitter @JasonNark.

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