After receiving a number of phone calls in recent days from voters discouraged at having cast votes for presidential candidates no longer in the race, Essex County Clerk Christopher J. Durkin said he decided today to give absentee ballot voters a second chance to vote in the Feb. 5 primary.
"These are voters upset with the prospect of their votes having no meaning," said Durkin. "I have received advice on both sides of the aisle, and it turns out that a Superior Court Judge down in Ocean County today ruled that a voter can vote again if his or her candidate has dropped out; that voter just needs to sign an affidavit affirming that his candidate dropped out of that race."
Durkin said the last day to withdraw a candidacy before ballots were to be printed was originally Dec. 20, or 48 days prior to Election Day.
"After that date, a judge could order the removal of the candidate’s name from the ballot through a request from that candidate," said Durkin. "The ballot contains six presidential candidates for the Democratic and Republican Parties respectively. Since the filing of petitions, four candidates from the Democratic Party and two candidates from the Republican Party have publicly dropped out of the race for the nomination."
More than 3,000 Essex County residents have applied for an absentee ballot, said Durkin, who said he doesn’t know if other counties besides Ocean and Essex will allow absentee ballot voters to change their votes.
Monday at 3 p.m. is the deadline to submit a signedaffidavit to the clerk's office.