Super-storm Sandy will have some kind of impact on next Tuesday’s election, whether it’s just an inconvenience for some voters, or at worst delays the election.
Federal officials said last week that it’s state officials’ call whether to push back the election, Politico
reports. Federal law mandates that presidential elections be held on the Tuesday after the first Monday in November. But if a state “has failed to make a choice on the day prescribed by law, the electors may be appointed on a subsequent day in such a manner as the legislature of such state may direct.”
When emergencies threaten to disrupt voting, the federal Election Assistance Commission advises state election officials to “review existing state law to determine if the governor has the power to cancel an election or designate alternative methods for distribution of ballots.”
The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) already is dealing with the possibilities.
“We are anticipating that, based on the storm, there could be impacts that would linger into next week and have impacts on the federal election,” FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate told reporters in a conference call Monday afternoon.
“Our chief counsel’s been working on making sure that we have the proper guidance. We’re going through the regulatory policy and making sure all that’s in place and we can support it.”
The New York City mayoral primary was delayed in September 2001 after the 9/11 terrorist attacks. But there is little, if any history, concerning delays for natural disasters.
Whether the election can be postponed or not is a legal black hole,” Adam Winkler, a law professor at the University of California at Los Angeles, told Politico. “There’s very little precedent for such an act.”
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