Though last week’s hurricane complicated voting for many in the Northeast Tuesday, most Yale students surveyed from the affected states said the conditions did not impact their ability to vote.
New York and New Jersey took drastic measures to facilitate voting. Governor Andrew Cuomo of New York temporarily suspended portions of the state’s election law to allow those displaced by Hurricane Sandy to vote in any precinct they could reach. In New Jersey, the state’s chief election official Kim Guadagno said anyone affected by the storm could vote at their most accessible site. On Tuesday, only two of Connecticut’s 773 polling locations were without power — a significant decrease from the 100 locations left in the dark last Wednesday after Sandy knocked out power across the state.
“Once again I am very proud of the hard work and dedication of our local election administrators in Connecticut, who for the second year in a row dealt with a major weather disaster just a week prior to Election Day and came together to make sure all of us could cast ballots,” Connecticut Secretary State Denise Merrill said in a press release Monday.
Nine of 10 Yale students from New York City interviewed Tuesday evening said the storm did not impact their ability to vote. Many reported that they had already registered in Connecticut and were able to vote with relatively little trouble around New Haven throughout Tuesday.
Julian Drucker ’16, from the Upper West Side New York City, said in an email that he does not personally know anybody from home whose voting ability was affected by the storm.
But Juliet deButts ’14, who lives near Drucker and is registered to vote in New York City, said in an email that Hurricane Sandy prevented her from voting today. Though she submitted an application for an absentee ballot, deButts said the hurricane must have delayed the mail because she never received her ballot.
New Jersey took the extra step of allowing displaced voters to submit their ballots by email or fax. The state classified these displaced individuals as overseas residents, allowing them to submit an electronic ballot application to receive a ballot via fax or email. On Tuesday, election officials in New Jersey extended the voting deadline, giving these displaced voters until Friday to submit their ballots by fax or email.
As of early Wednesday morning, President Obama was expected to win in New Jersey, New York and Connecticut by large margins.