New Jersey readies for Election Day

TRENTON, N.J. - November 3, 2008 - 5.4 million people are registered to vote in New Jersey, a record.

On Monday, a steady line of registered voters came to the Mercer County Clerk's office, hoping to beat the 3 o'clock deadline to get an absentee ballot. Others were turning theirs in at the board of elections.

"I'm working in New York City, a shift from 6am to 7pm, so I won't get home until after the polls close," said Andrea Barker of Princeton.

A large number of people are voting absentee, which you now can do without an excuse like illness or travel, to avoid the long lines anticipated at the polls Tuesday.

"It's an extraordinary election, and people are coming out as never before," said Hezron Miller of Ewing. "We are voting in advance to we don't have to face those lines tomorrow morning."

618,000 new voters have registered in New Jersey since January, with more than 23,000 in Mercer County alone, and thats raised concerns about delays at the polls.

"I'm sure people are going to wait in line, not like I've seen on TV where people wait for 5 hours or 6 hours," said Bettye Monroe, Superintendent of Elections.

To limit lines as much as possible, the state has recruited 25,000 poll workers for the election. As in other counties, Mercer has brought on extra personnel and additional machines to handle the volume. And 2 trucks will be standing by with spare machines that can be dispatched to polling places in minutes if there are problems.

"People do have to be patient. We're hoping they come to the polls between 10am and 3pm," said Nina Mitchell Wells, the New Jersey Secretary of State. "We think lines will be lighter during that period."

Because not all of the names of the newly registered were processed in time to be printed in the sign-in books at the polls, some will have to cast their votes using provisional ballots.

It may be confusing for first-time voters, but the governor promises that everyone who's eligible will get to vote.

"We will keep the polls open until everybody who's in line at 8:00 has a chance to vote," said Gov. Jon Corzine.

Polls open in New Jersey at 6:00 a.m. Tuesday.

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