Bouncing email addresses, personal hotmail accounts. “It's really maddening,” says Tanz.
New Jersey's last-minute offer of email voting to displaced residents was greeted by concern by security experts, who warn that email offers a fast track to voter fraud.
But the system may have another problem as well: County election administrators are, according to anecdotal reports, simply not responding to all requests for ballots. In two major counties, the email address advertised on the website of the county clerk is not even accepting email.
The email address listed on the website of the Morris County Clerrk, firstname.lastname@example.org, is not receiving email. Nor is the email, email@example.com, listed on the website of the Essex County Clerk, firstname.lastname@example.org and the County's site. (The Essex County Clerk posted to his Facebook page Monday that voters could email requests to his personal Hotmail account.
Essex County, which includes Newark, is the state's third-largest. Morris County, with nearly 500,000 residents in largely prosperous suburbs of New York City, is the 10th largest.
Jason Tanz, a Wired Magazine editor who lives in Essex County, told BuzzFeed he filled out a ballot application, set it to the clerk — and received no response. He called twice and emailed, he said, — only to find that the email address was bouncing.
"If you're going to do something like this, you have to do it right," Tanz said in an email. "This was obviously a rush job, and I'm sure thousands of people won't be able to vote because they couldnt figure out where to send their applications, and couldn't get anyone to tell them.
"It's really maddening," he said. "I've sent in my application three times now, and I still don't know if I'm going to get a chance to vote tomorrow."
And New Jersey residents in areas where email addresses are technically working may also be having problems. Kiersten Mahon, who evacuated Rumson in Monmouth county for the Washington, DC area forwarded BuzzFeed emails showing she had submitted her application for an absentee ballot to her county clerk at 1:45 p.m. As of near-midnight Monday — hours after the 5:00 p.m. deadline to apply for a ballot, she had received no response.
The Essex County Clerk and a spokeswoman for Governor Chris Christie did not respond to inquiries about the technical shortcomings.