Election officials say they’re ready with backup plans in case a natural disaster — like the recent flooding in Louisiana or another storm like Hurricane Matthew — threatens to keep voters away from the polls on Election Day. “We all may have different kinds of disasters, but you still have to hold elections,’’ said Meg Casper, spokeswoman for the Louisiana secretary of state’s office. “What we have done and what we tell folks is, as long as you’ve got a power source, even if it’s a generator, and a tent, you can hold an election. All of these things are mostly lessons learned from (Hurricane) Katrina.’’ Federal and state election officials said Superstorm Sandy, which struck the Northeast in late October 2012, also schooled them in holding elections following torrential rain, flooding and power outages. One lesson: Have paper ballots ready just in case. “We all have contingency plans,’’ Mississippi Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann said. “We just hope the good Lord doesn’t make us use them.’’ Most election officials also have prepared for potential cyber attacks, said Thomas Hicks, chairman of the federal Election Assistance Commission, which held a public meeting last month on Election Day contingency plans.
Louisiana Secretary of State Tom Schedler told the commission voters can trust the integrity of election systems. He said the Nov. 8 election in the state won’t be hampered by the record flooding in August that destroyed tens of thousands of homes and businesses.
Communities in Maryland and West Virginia were also hard hit by floods, but Hicks said states that experienced flooding have had time to implement plans “to ensure there’s little disruption actually on Election Day.’’ “We can’t plan for everything,” he said. “But be ready, be vigilant.’’
Few states know that better than Louisiana. In the wake of Katrina, officials created mega-precincts in New Orleans, complete with tents and bottled water. They also sent thousands of ballots to displaced voters in Houston, Atlanta and elsewhere.
Full Article: Election officials say they’re ready if disaster hits.