In the run-up to the 2012 Presidential Election, as Superstorm Sandy was bearing down hard on the East Coast, we wrote quite a bit (both here and at Salon) about how flooding and, specifically, power outages in several states that rely almost exclusively on electronic voting systems, could cripple the integrity of elections in a number of them.
Ultimately, among the hardest hit of those northeastern states was New Jersey, which, shamefully, still forces almost all of its voters to cast their ballots on 100% unverifiable electronic touch-screen systems.
On the weekend before Election Day, as water was rising and power was out across much of the eastern part of the state, NJ's Gov. Chris Christie and Lt. Governor Kim Guadano issued an unusual, emergency order, allowing for the use of early voting to ease the crush on Election Day in areas where some polling places would be shut down to due flooding, and for the use of paper ballot voting in precincts where power was still likely to be out as of Election Day.
We applauded those emergency measures at the time, particularly as the chances for voters to actually have their votes counted accurately and transparently could only increase with the use of hand-marked paper ballots in a state which has had nothing but disasters over the years with their oft-failed, easily-manipulated touch-screen voting system.
However, at the same time Guadano was announcing those emergency measures, she also --- without bothering to consult with election officials around the state --- tossed in one other emergency order [PDF] which, as we warned at the time, was likely to be a terrible mistake.
Guadano ordered emergency Internet Voting --- of a sort --- by allowing for voters displaced by the storm (and it would be left up to election officials' discretion to determine which voters were or weren't "displaced") to cast their ballots via email or fax.
We now know, thanks to a new report from the Rutger's School of Law [PDF], that, indeed, NJ's experiment with voting over fax and the Internet was a disaster, one that led to tens of thousands of unauthenticated votes in 2012, and which hasn't hasn't been reported by the media...until now...