A judge in New Jersey declined to extend the voting deadline in that state following a lawsuit from civil rights groups who say technical issues turned away voters early Tuesday.
The American Civil Liberties Union and League of Women Voters in New Jersey filed a lawsuit Tuesday evening hoping to keep polls open an extra 90 minutes. The state closes Election Day polls at 8 p.m.
“Operational issues should not prevent voters from casting a ballot,” said ACLU-NJ Legal Director Jeanne LoCicero. “We heard reports throughout the day that there were people being denied access to their right to vote and felt the need to take urgent action. We’re disappointed that the judge didn’t agree, but we will always take action to protect one of our most fundamental civil rights: the right to cast a ballot and participate in democracy.”
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The Superior Court judge said there was little evidence of voter disenfranchisement based on what was presented. He also mentioned a last minute change to the deadline so close to 8 p.m. could create enormous disarray.
Some voters in the Garden State reported wireless internet connectivity issues early on Election Day with a number of volunteers struggling to operate new technology implemented this election cycle. The glitches appeared to center around the updated voter registration operations.
The League of Women Voters of NJ told News 4 some of the voters who experienced delays at their polling locations left without being able to cast their ballot and had concerns about returning by the 8 p.m. deadline.
New Jersey is in its first year of early in-person voting which offered registered voters nine days to cast their ballot ahead of Nov. 2. Before Election Day, some 700,000 votes had already been cast by mail-in ballots or in early in-person voting.
The deadline to apply for a vote by mail ballot was Nov. 1.