Response from Sandy May Impact Swing State Voting

By Vickie Frantz, AccuWeather.com Staff Writer
October 27, 2012; 6:10 AM
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Sandy is a major storm that will bring heavy rain and strong wind to many cities along the East Coast early next week.

Impacts could be felt as far as a few hundred miles inland after landfall, according to AccuWeather Expert Senior Meteorologist Alex Sosnowski.

The wind and rain combined has the potential to down trees and cause widespread power outages for millions of people that may last for days.

Early voting, and possibly presidential voting on Nov. 6, may need to be postponed if Sandy causes power outages.

North Carolina

In the state of North Carolina, the Executive Director of the State Board of Elections Gary Bartlett said, "The early polling places in Kill Devil Hills, Ocracoke and Bayboro will not be open for voting."

The responsibility of being open on Election Day falls to each individual polling place. Bartlett assures North Carolina voters that as long as there is no safety issue for poll workers or the public, the polling places will be open.

Widespread power outages could prevent the power from being restored to some places before Election Day. Crews will restore power to places that have the most urgent need first, such as hospitals. Next, power will be restored in the areas that are the most populated. And the power to the less populated areas will be restored last. Bartlett said most, if not all, of the polling places in North Carolina will be open on Election Day.

"Even without power, most of the polling places have optical scanning machines and paper ballots. Voters will be able to cast their votes," Bartlett said.

This photograph of a polling place sign is courtesy of Photos.com.

New Hampshire

The polling places in New Hampshire are expected to remain open for voting, with or without electricity, according to New Hampshire Deputy of State Dave Scanlan.

"We are used to inclement weather in New Hampshire, we have a hearty bunch of voters," said Scanlan.

In New Hampshire, each individual polling place throughout the state is responsible for making sure they remain open on Election Day.

"Even with no power, the voters can vote as long as we can get some lights on with generators," Scanlan said.

The voters in New Hampshire cast their votes by paper ballot, so electricity does not affect the voting.

Barring a catastrophic weather impact on a polling place directly, Scanlan said, all polling offices will be open on Election Day.

Polling place representatives in the states of Ohio and Virginia could not be reached for comment.

Emergency Response to Sandy after Impact

After the storm passes, the fast response of government agencies in dealing with storm damage may play a crucial role in voter turnout.

In some areas, it may become an issue for people to physically make it to their polling place.

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