A first responder in a protective suit gives a thumbs up after checking the area from the back of a military truck, as Hurricane Sandy bears down on the East Coast, Monday, Oct. 29, 2012, in Ocean City, Md.
New Jersey will deploy military trucks to serve as polling places on Election Day in storm-battered communities, the state secretary of the state announced Thursday during a visit to this flood-ravaged town. The state is also extending the deadline on mail-in ballots.
Department of Defense trucks will be parked at regular polling places that have lost power, as long as the sites are still accessible. Paper ballots will be used.
Republican Secretary of State and Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno said voters will find "a DOD truck with a well-situated National Guardsman and a big sign saying, "Vote Here."
Guadagno said it was still unclear how many of the state's 3,000 polling places are without power, but she would know by Friday. Alternate sites are to be identified in cases where polling places are gone, she said.
More than 1.6 million electric customers in New Jersey remained without power Thursday night.
The state also extended the deadline for when county clerks may accept mail-in ballot applications to the close of business Friday. Election officials said they could be handed in as late as Election Day, by the close of the polls.
The secretary of state urged as many people as possible in storm-damaged areas to vote by mail-in ballot because, she said, "obviously in places like Seaside Heights and Sea Bright, there is no polling place, it's gone."
"There's no reason not to vote, there's no reason not to vote today, there's certainly no reason not to vote on Tuesday, five days from today," Guadagno said.
Gov. Chris Christie said that in areas without electricity, voting would again be "old school."
"You walk up, get a paper ballot, fill it out and hand it back in," he said.
With paper ballots to be counted, the governor said some races might be more suspenseful.