In Brief

Judge denies bid to extend voting by 90 minutes

By: - November 2, 2021 7:54 pm

A man entering a polling place in Ocean Grove on Nov. 2. (Daniella Heminghaus for New Jersey Monitor)

A Mercer County Superior Court Judge denied an emergency application to extend polling hours by 90 minutes Tuesday evening.

The application, filed by the American Civil Liberties Union of New Jersey and the New Jersey League of Women Voters, sought to delay the closing of polls to 9:30 p.m. to account for reported technological issues and late openings that hampered polling places in some corners of the state this morning.

Their filing cited issues with internet connectivity — required by new electronic poll books — at some polling stations.

They said other polling places opened hours late, causing some voters to leave before casting their ballots.

Judge William Anklowitz said he did not find the evidence of polling issues — which were reported in the press or to election issue hotlines — to be reliable, calling them hearsay.

He also said it was unclear that the issues prevented voters who left polling stations from returning and casting their votes later.

The decision, made about 20 minutes before polls were scheduled to close, would have caused disarray among poll workers, he said.

“The judge we had today disagreed with us and decided not to extend hours, which is his prerogative and we understand, but at the end of the day, that means potentially many people in New Jersey were unable to cast a ballot in a crucial election,” said ACLU-NJ Executive Director Amol Sinha.

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Nikita Biryukov
Nikita Biryukov

Nikita Biryukov most recently covered state government and politics for the New Jersey Globe. His tenure there included revelatory stories on marijuana legalization, voting reform and Rep. Jeff Van Drew's decamp to the Republican Party. Earlier, he worked as a freelancer for The Home News Tribune and The Press of Atlantic City.