Might Sandy postpone subsequent week’s presidential election? Sure, in concept
- White Home nonetheless not sure about how the storm will have an effect on subsequent week’s election
- The President would not set the date for elections, Congress does
- States should resolve their very own polling methods in emergencies in line with election laws
- Contingency plans may result in authorized squabbles over remaining leads to some states
- Among the best states, equivalent to Ohio and Virginia have felt the influence of Sandy
One week earlier than an in depth election, superstorm Sandy has confounded the presidential race, halted early voting in lots of areas and led some to ponder whether or not the election may even be postponed.
It may take days to revive electrical energy to greater than eight million properties and companies that misplaced energy when the storm pummeled the East Coast -leading consultants to query whether or not the election could be put again from November sixth.
Whereas the reply is in fact sure in concept, the chance of the selection between Mitt Romney and President Barack Obama being postponed is unlikely regardless of the devastating impact superstorm Sandy had on 60 million individuals throughout the north-east, or one-sixth of the inhabitants.
U.S. President Barack Obama speaks about preparations for Hurricane Sandy throughout a briefing on the White Home
However because the storm left its path of destruction behind, even a few of these intimately concerned within the election appeared at the hours of darkness about what choices can be found to deal with the storm.
Requested Monday whether or not President Barack Obama had the ability to reschedule the election, White Home press secretary Jay Carney stated he wasn’t positive.
Nevertheless, constitutionally, the President would not set the date for the election, Congress does.
Congress may act throughout the subsequent week to vary the date, however that may be robust as a result of lawmakers are on recess and again dwelling of their districts campaigning for re-election.
Floor Zero: New Yorkers start the clean-up after the devastation of Sandy
Plus, it is doubtless that may imply altering the date for all the nation, not simply these affected by the storm.
What’s extra, Congress solely selects the date for federal elections, so altering the date would wreak havoc for state and native elections additionally scheduled for Nov. 6.
‘For these states that do not have already got an election emergency course of in place, any departure from the established election course of may simply give rise to courtroom challenges concerning the legitimacy of the election,’ stated Steven Huefner, professor at Ohio State’s Moritz Faculty of Legislation to ABC News.
‘Even states with an emergency plan may discover themselves going through litigation over particular methods through which they’ve carried out their emergency plan.’
Some have requested whether it is doubtless for the election to go forward however to permit New Jersey and New York to vote at a special time afterwards.
That’s attainable, however the authorized points get tough. States, by and huge, are in control of their very own elections.
U.S. Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney accepts reduction provides for individuals affected by Hurricane Sandy
Every state has its personal legal guidelines coping with what to do if an emergency jeopardizes voting and who could make the decision.
Federal regulation says that if a state fails to conduct an election for federal races on the day Congress chooses, the state legislature can decide a later date.
However, consultants informed ABC News that even minor contingency preparations, like holding polls open longer in some precincts or transferring polling areas, will in all probability result in authorized challenges and extra provisional voting, which may delay election outcomes.
However state and federal legal guidelines do not all the time jive completely. Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell has stated his state’s legal guidelines do not grant him authority to reschedule the presidential election.
Regardless of no presidential election ever being postponed, some are pointing to previous precedents the place voting has been delayed.
New York Metropolis was holding its mayoral major when terrorists struck on Sept. 11, 2001, and town rescheduled the election.
After Hurricane Katrina in 2005, Louisiana’s governor postponed municipal elections in New Orleans after elections officers stated polling locations would not be prepared.
Nevertheless, what’s most likley is a compromise for these affected by the havoc attributable to the storm.
Voting hours could possibly be prolonged at varied areas and in locations the place digital voting machines are in use, paper ballots could possibly be used as an alternative.
Some areas additionally may select to maneuver polling areas if current ones are broken, inaccessible or will not have energy on Election Day.
However even amending election day to accommodate the affected would create issues in themselves.
If ballot hours are prolonged, underneath a 2002 regulation handed by Congress in response to the disputed 2000 presidential election, any voters who present up exterior of normal hours should use provisional ballots, that are counted later and could possibly be challenged.
Essential swing states equivalent to Ohio have felt the influence of Sandy and will make all of the distinction within the election subsequent week
Sandy’s influence was felt in a few of the best states within the presidential race, together with Virginia and Ohio.
The extra provisional ballots which are solid, the better the probabilities are that the winner will not be identified till days and even weeks after the election.
There’s one other situation if ballot hours are prolonged in some areas – equivalent to counties with the worst storm injury – and never in others.
That might immediate lawsuits underneath the Structure’s Equal Safety Clause, stated Edward Foley, an election regulation skilled at The Ohio State College.
Relocating polling locations can also be dangerous as a result of it may drive down turnout, stated Neil Malhotra, a political economist at Stanford College’s Graduate College of Enterprise.
‘In the event you disrupt their routine and the polling place they’ve all the time been going to, even should you do not transfer it very far, they vote much less,’ he stated.
The Federal Emergency Administration Company’s administrator, Craig Fugate, stated Monday he anticipated the storm’s influence may linger into subsequent week and have an effect on the election.
He stated FEMA would take a look at what help it may present to states earlier than the election.
‘This shall be led by the states,’ he stated.
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