Now the New York state Board of Elections isÂ preparing for the worst as they are releasing information about possible back-upÂ scenarios if the election turn out is significantly lower than expected becauseÂ of damage from Hurricane Sandy.
If less than 25 per cent of registered votersÂ show up to polling stations on Tuesday, they are prepared to extend the votingÂ deadline past Tuesday evening, meaning that New Yorkers may have two days toÂ cast their ballots.
The news comes just a day after neighboringÂ New Jersey, which is considered the worst-hit of all of the East Coast becauseÂ of the hurricane, announced that they will allow residents to email their votesÂ in if they are unable to get to a polling station.
Election organizers are grappling with waysÂ to make sure that the presidential election is not thwarted by any turnoutÂ issues stemming from Monday’s storm.
They will be comparing this year’s turnout toÂ that of previous elections, where typical turnout hovers around 60 per cent ofÂ registered voters.
While power was restored to Manhattan onÂ Friday, thousands remain in the dark. Progress is being made daily, but GovernorÂ Andrew Cuomo has urged utility companies to prioritize polling sites so thatÂ voters can cast their ballots safely.
‘We’ve provided lists of poll sites to localÂ utilities, and some of the voting machines do have battery backup,’ board ofÂ elections spokesman Tom Connolly said.
‘We are also planning to get generators toÂ polling sites, but it’s not like we have an unlimited supply ofÂ generators.’
The hurricane, that barreled down on New Jersey and New York on October 29, has claimed 110 lives, displacedÂ thousandsÂ and left millions without power for days.
Flooding, damaged roads and power outagesÂ have forced many Jerseyites from their homes and the electronic option willÂ allow first responders who are working away from home and those displaced by theÂ storm to cast their ballot.
New Jersey Governor Chris Christie and hisÂ counterpart in New York, Governor Cuomo, have been reviewing how to prepareÂ their respective states for November 6 – while simultaneously trying to restoreÂ electricity and access to food and water.
New Jersey will allow any state resident thatÂ has been displaced by the storm to qualify as an overseas voter, meaning theyÂ can submit their ballot by fax or email.
Governor Christie also mandated that countyÂ clerks open their offices over the weekend to allow early voting and has calledÂ for paper ballots to be sent to polling stations still without power.
‘Time on your hands? Tired of cleaning stuffÂ up? Go there in person, you’ll get a ballot, you vote and hand it in and you’reÂ done,’ Christie said at a press conference, encouraging residents to not let theÂ storm prevent them from exercising their right to vote.
‘There’s no reason why anybody shouldn’tÂ vote. We’re going to have a full, fair, transparent, open voting process,’ heÂ added.
New York CityÂ Mayor MichaelÂ Bloomberg has tried to address the issueÂ of polling station power availability but told reporters that the Board ofÂ Elections has jurisdiction over those centers.
‘They have known for six days now that weÂ were going to have some problems and hopefully they had backup plans anyway,’ heÂ said, casting some doubt on their preparedness though much of the city willÂ likely have power by next Tuesday.
Many counties in upstate New York are stillÂ without power but officials have noted that paper ballots are primarily used, soÂ the power outage should not impact a person’s ability to vote but access toÂ polling stations might be a difficulty for many voters.
After the storm swept through the East Coast,Â local officials assessed the damage and some actually wondered if theÂ destruction was severe enough to merit the postponement of the presidentialÂ election.
But the idea was dismissed given the limitedÂ geographic scope of the storm and the monumental impact of rescheduling theÂ decision day for the U.S. Commander in Chief.
Changing the date of a national Election Day,Â which has never actually occurred before, can only occur by an act of Congress,Â 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 whatÂ will be the outcome of the election.
Various polls have shown U.S. PresidentÂ Barack Obama and his GOP challenger, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, areÂ neck in neck but Obama seems to be appear ahead in the Electoral College count.
According to Real Clear Politics estimates onÂ voter preferences in battleground states, Obama leads Romney in Nevada,Â Pennsylvania, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio, Colorado, New Hampshire, Wisconsin,
Romney is only projected to win in the swingÂ states of Florida and North Carolina, with a negligible lead in Virginia,Â according to the RCP tallies.
Source: The Daily Mail