As many head back to work and the routine of their daily lives following Hurricane Sandy, some are asking about the impact of this deadly storm on next week’s elections. We have pulled together a quick primer on what steps elections officials in some of the affected states are taking to help voters. Overall, we are pleased that many states are extending deadlines in an effort to mitigate the effect of the hurricane and its aftermath on the upcoming election. Voters in in New Jersey and New York will need to keep checking in with local elections officials as the magnitude of the storm will likely force last minute changes in polling places.
Elections officials in so many states have stepped up to the plate to help voters realizing that what is needed is a concerted and cooperative effort with the local media and voting rights organizations to educate the public about changes impacting how, where and when they can vote .
In reviewing states (CT, DE, DC, FL, GA, ME, MD, MA, NH, NJ, NC, NY, OH, PA, RI, SC, VT, VA and WV) that have been affected by Hurricane Sandy we found that most states have not changed their voting procedures. However, some states that were hardest hit have extended hours for registration and early voting.
Below is a list of changes as of this morning October 31, 2012 –
Connecticut: In response to the dangerous weather impacting the state from Hurricane Sandy, Governor Dannel P. Malloy on Sunday evening signed an executive order extending the in-person voter registration deadline in Connecticut to Thursday, November 1, at 8 p.m. for those who intend to vote in the upcoming election. The deadline had originally been scheduled for Tuesday, October 30, at 8 p.m.
Washington, DC: The District of Columbia Board of Elections has resumed early voting today Wednesday, October 31, 2012 and will extend voting hours until 9:00 P.M. at each early voting location. The Board has added extra voting equipment at each of its locations to accommodate the anticipated heavy turnout. The Board’s decision to extend the hours of operation will accommodate voters who were unable to vote due to long lines on Saturday and closures due to Hurricane Sandy. Hours of operation at each early voting site will be from 8:30 A.M. until 9:00 P.M., Wednesday through Saturday. Polling places on Election Day, Tuesday November 6, will be open from 7:00 A.M. to 8:00 P.M.
Maryland: An application for an absentee ballot must be received by a local board by today, Wednesday, October 31, 2012. The deadline is 8:00 p.m. for applications received by mail or delivery and 11:59 p.m. for applications received by fax or electronic mail. All early voting centers will be open between 8 a.m. and 9 p.m. on Wednesday, October 31, 2012, Thursday, November 1, 2012, and Friday, November 2, 2012
New York: Due to Hurricane Sandy, poll site information for the November 6, 2012 election may change. Voters in NYC should visit the NYC Board of Elections page: others NY voters should visit the NY State Board of Elections page for the latest changes in poll site information.
North Carolina: Back to normal for early voting - One Stop voting location: All One Stop Early Voting locations will be open.
Virginia: Early voting has been extended: Virginia voters eligible to vote absentee for the upcoming election will have an increased opportunity to cast their absentee ballot in-person at general registrar offices and satellite offices, if available. In-person absentee voting must be available for a minimum of eight hours on Saturday, November 3, 2012, the last day to vote absentee in-person. Contact your local registrar to find exact locations and hours. Voters must meet one of 17 eligibility requirements to vote absentee. The recent changes to the voter ID laws are applicable to those voting absentee in-person.
Voters all over the country can use VOTE411.org to get needed election information. Use VOTE411.org to set up your personalized voting guide that will include up-to-date information you need to cast your ballot, including your polling place, voting rules, and ID requirements.