New Yorkers may get an extra day to vote due to Hurricane Sandy


A citizen votes on a paper ballot during the final day of early voting at the Lancaster Board of Elections November 5, 2012 in Lancaster, Ohio. Ohio, a battleground state which no Republican has won the US Presidency without its electoral votes, is closely contested between US President Barack Obama and Mitt Romney.

Voters in some parts of New York might be given an extra day to cast their ballot due to disruptions caused by Hurricane Sandy.

Not only that, but New Jersey residents displaced from their homes can submit their votes by email or fax.

The decision comes as state officials become increasingly concerned that residents, already grappling with no power and no homes, will not have time to get to the polls, CNN reported.

They are also worried that a number of the polling locations have been changed due to storm damage, and that it will not be a priority for storm ravaged residents.

If turnout is less than 25%, county election officials could ask the New York state Board of Elections for an extension for voting, according to state board spokesman, Thomas Connolly.

"To my knowledge this has never happened in New York," Connolly told CNN. 

The state board would consider the request and, if approved, a second day of voting would be scheduled within 20 days of Tuesday, he said.

Another option for those in New Jersey is to vote by email or fax.

But according to the Huffington Post, some election watchdog groups believe this creates security issues.

Rutgers-Newark Law School Professor Penny Venetis says that when New Jersey residents living overseas vote by email, they also must send a paper ballot to verify their identity. 

Venetis said that if the state does not clarify the rules, election advocates might file a lawsuit later today to stop the email voting system. 

Throughout the New York state, officials have been racing to reorganise polling locations in storm damaged areas, and in some cases ballots will be cast in makeshift tents and with the use of power generators, AP reported.

Some areas will offer shuttle buses to get to polling spots which have been moved miles from their homes.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg indicated there was potential for a poor turn-out on Tuesday in sections of New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut, The New York Times reported. 

Bloomberg said some effects may also be felt in other states, including Pennsylvania, due to lack of power.

Disrupted postal delivery was likely to slow the return of absentee ballots, which could delay the vote count in some areas.