FAIR HAVEN MAKES ROOM FOR SEA BRIGHTERS

Fair Haven voters chatting outside the Youth Center, where all local balloting was moved to accommodate Sea Bright residents at the Fair Haven firehouse. (Photo by Rebecca Desfosse. Click to enlarge)

By REBECCA DESFOSSE

Sea Bright residents and other voters displaced by the wrath of Hurricane Sandy were able to exercise their right to vote in Fair Haven this Election Day. Grateful that they were able to vote despite the devastation in their hometowns, voters piled into two polling locations in Fair Haven from all over the state.

Sea Bright residents were instructed to vote at the Fair Haven firehouse, while all Fair Haven residents were rerouted to the Youth Center behind the police station.

Sea Bright resident Kristin Thatcher said she wasn’t inconvenienced at all by the change in polling locations – she was just glad she was still able to vote. She also said Fair Haven made it really easy for her to vote. All she needed was her driver’s license and she was good to go.

It was quiet at the firehouse at mid-morning, but Fran Brown, one of the polling attendants, said there had been a good turnout earlier. According to Brown, residents were coming out despite the chaos.

“They’re making their way over here,” she said. In fact, many were trekking all the way from north Jersey and elsewhere – wherever they had been staying since the storm.

Things were a bit busier at the Youth Center, which was servicing all of Fair Haven. Polling attendant Julie Goldman said “things are working a lot better than I thought they would.” Besides all of Fair Haven, displaced voters from all over the state were coming there to vote. With proper documentation, those displaced by the flooding were able to vote in any polling location.

A polling attendant for six years, including one presidential election, Goldman said this election was the craziest she had ever seen. However, despite the hustle and bustle, things were running smoothly. The Monmouth County Board of Elections had attempted to make the voting process efficient as possible and had “done a good job,” according to Goldman.

Outside the Youth Center was a different story. Unaccustomed to accommodating this many voters, parking was an issue – even with a police officer directing traffic. “It took me longer to park than to vote,” Maura McCarthy told redbankgreen.