Election officials across the U.S. Northeast say they are determined to minimize disruption to Nov. 6 presidential voting in the region’s hardest-hit areas after super-storm Sandy knocked out power to 8 million customers. Officials are surveying damage and deciding how to conduct voting in areas without power. Service may not be restored for as long as 10 days to more than 2 million New York customers, mostly on Long Island and in New York City. Another 2.6 million customers in New Jersey and 627,000 in Connecticut were without electricity, according to the U.S. Energy Department.
In Virginia, where almost 150,000 customers had no electricity yesterday, polling places are “on top of the list for restoration of power,” Justin Riemer, a spokesman for the Virginia State Board of Elections, said in an interview. “There should be no lingering outages by next week.”
Federal law sets the election for the day after the first Monday in November, under authority granted to Congress by the Constitution. A state probably could shift Election Day in response to an emergency without running afoul of federal law, as long as it did so evenhandedly, said Edward Foley, director of the election law program at Ohio State University’s Moritz College of Law in Columbus.
Not everyone counts the election as a top priority. New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, whose state bore much of the furious storm’s damage, said at a Trenton news conference that he and state residents have “much bigger fish to fry” than worrying about the election.