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New York May Extend Voting for an Extra Day Due to Hurricane Sandy

Now the New York state Board of Elections is  preparing for the worst as they are releasing information about possible back-up  scenarios if the election turn out is significantly lower than expected because  of damage from Hurricane Sandy.

If less than 25 per cent of registered voters  show up to polling stations on Tuesday, they are prepared to extend the voting  deadline past Tuesday evening, meaning that New Yorkers may have two days to  cast their ballots.

The news comes just a day after neighboring  New Jersey, which is considered the worst-hit of all of the East Coast because  of the hurricane, announced that they will allow residents to email their votes  in if they are unable to get to a polling station.

Election organizers are grappling with ways  to make sure that the presidential election is not thwarted by any turnout  issues stemming from Monday’s storm.

The New York board, which consists of two  Democrats and two Republicans, will make the final decision Tuesday over whether  or not they will hold a second day of voting.

They will be comparing this year’s turnout to  that of previous elections, where typical turnout hovers around 60 per cent of  registered voters.

While power was restored to Manhattan on  Friday, thousands remain in the dark. Progress is being made daily, but Governor  Andrew Cuomo has urged utility companies to prioritize polling sites so that  voters can cast their ballots safely.

‘We’ve provided lists of poll sites to local  utilities, and some of the voting machines do have battery backup,’ board of  elections spokesman Tom Connolly said.

‘We are also planning to get generators to  polling sites, but it’s not like we have an unlimited supply of  generators.’

The hurricane, that barreled down on New Jersey and New York on October 29, has claimed 110 lives, displaced  thousands  and left millions without power for days.

Flooding, damaged roads and power outages  have forced many Jerseyites from their homes and the electronic option will  allow first responders who are working away from home and those displaced by the  storm to cast their ballot.

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie and his  counterpart in New York, Governor Cuomo, have been reviewing how to prepare  their respective states for November 6 – while simultaneously trying to restore  electricity and access to food and water.

New Jersey will allow any state resident that  has been displaced by the storm to qualify as an overseas voter, meaning they  can submit their ballot by fax or email.

Governor Christie also mandated that county  clerks open their offices over the weekend to allow early voting and has called  for paper ballots to be sent to polling stations still without power.

‘Time on your hands? Tired of cleaning stuff  up? Go there in person, you’ll get a ballot, you vote and hand it in and you’re  done,’ Christie said at a press conference, encouraging residents to not let the  storm prevent them from exercising their right to vote.

‘There’s no reason why anybody shouldn’t  vote. We’re going to have a full, fair, transparent, open voting process,’ he  added.

New York City  Mayor Michael  Bloomberg has tried to address the issue  of polling station power availability but told reporters that the Board of  Elections has jurisdiction over those centers.

‘They have known for six days now that we  were going to have some problems and hopefully they had backup plans anyway,’ he  said, casting some doubt on their preparedness though much of the city will  likely have power by next Tuesday.

Many counties in upstate New York are still  without power but officials have noted that paper ballots are primarily used, so  the power outage should not impact a person’s ability to vote but access to  polling stations might be a difficulty for many voters.

After the storm swept through the East Coast,  local officials assessed the damage and some actually wondered if the  destruction was severe enough to merit the postponement of the presidential  election.

But the idea was dismissed given the limited  geographic scope of the storm and the monumental impact of rescheduling the  decision day for the U.S. Commander in Chief.

Changing the date of a national Election Day,  which has never actually occurred before, can only occur by an act of Congress,  according to legislation from 1845.

Across the U.S., many Americans have already headed to the polls. Roughly 26 million Americans have cast their ballots early in 34 states and in Washington, D.C.

And most Americans are in suspense as to what  will be the outcome of the election.

Various polls have shown U.S. President  Barack Obama and his GOP challenger, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, are  neck in neck but Obama seems to be appear ahead in the Electoral College count.

According to Real Clear Politics estimates on  voter preferences in battleground states, Obama leads Romney in Nevada,  Pennsylvania, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio, Colorado, New Hampshire, Wisconsin,

Romney is only projected to win in the swing  states of Florida and North Carolina, with a negligible lead in Virginia,  according to the RCP tallies.

Source: The Daily Mail

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Posted by on November 5, 2012. Filed under NY News,Slider. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.