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What You Need to Know About Voting in States Affected by Sandy
Millions of people continue to deal with the after effects of Sandy. People are dealing with loss of loved ones, loss of property. Communities have been evacuated; transit systems are slowly starting up again. In short, while Sandy has come and gone, the damage resulting from the storm will be with us for a very long time.
At the same time, we do have an election next Tuesday and there are concerns about the extent to which Sandy will influence the vote. Election officials in several states are dealing with a variety of issues that come with whole communities being evacuated, poll stations being seriously damaged or destroyed.
New York’s Board of Elections has extended the deadline for its absentee ballot applications to November 2. They also extended the deadline for absentee ballots to be received and be counted to 13 days after the General Election. This is if the ballot is postmarked no later than November 5th.
If you live in New York, it’s possible that your poll location for election day may have changed. You should contact your County Board of Elections. Contact information for all of New York’s County Board of Elections can be found here.
As Bloomberg reports, some poll stations in New Jersey were wiped out by Sandy, making it necessary to find alternate locations.
It appears that any contingency plans will be decided by local officials. According to Morristown Path, there are no plans to delay the election or extend dates for returning absentee ballots. However, it is possible that polling stations could change.
Monmouth County Clerk M. Claire French on Wednesday confirmed that polling stations could change.
;As far as I know, we are going ahead with the election,’ said French, who has been in touch with the NJ Election Division in Trenton. ‘We have not been notified by any changes, no dates have been extended, no deadlines changed. We are planning on voting on Tuesday.’
Each municipal clerk will make plans for location changes if necessary, she said.
If you live in New Jersey, the best way to find out about any new developments is to contact your county’s Election board.
Voting is done by paper ballot in Connecticut and Massachusetts, which are counted by an electronic scanner. That means counting can be done where there is power or where a generator is available. The other possibility is to use ballots that can be counted by hand.
Denise Merrill, Secretary of State for Connecticut, is optimistic about election day and told NBC that voting will proceed, with some adjustments.
We are prepared to go forward with the election. There are probably about 100 polling places at this point that are without power, but it looks like most of them could be moved if needed, but we’re hoping a lot of them will come back on line (before Election Day). Even in the towns most devastated, which were along the shore, places like Greenwich, Old Saybrook, Stonington – those were the towns that were hardest hit – most of the town halls are up and running. Even though there’s widespread damage to homes, the official polling places are probably going to be fine and we’re making alternate arrangement for a lot of the processes that we have to do before Election Day.
If you live in Connecticut or Massachusetts, make sure you confirm the location of your poll station with your county election officials. Remember, if you vote in the wrong place, your vote will not be counted.
While those are the hardest hit states, two swing states, Ohio and Virginia, did feel some affects from Sandy — including power outages. However, neither state is making any new plans for the election on Tuesday.
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