Post Sandy Questions

Tropical Storm Sandy has created a disaster in New York and along the eastern seaboard.  The states that were affected all have to have their elections up and running on Tuesday; except for New Jersey, the states most directly affected are not states with early and absentee voting.

In New York, numerous subway tunnels were flooded and each tunnel has to be checked for debris by hand.  Power outages in the region are severe and so is flooding– CBS news has a state by state breakdown.  This disaster creates a two-part problem:

1.  The week before an election is critical for logistics.  All voting machines and tabulators have to be L&A tested.  Everything has to be sealed.  Supplies have to be packed.  Ballots have to be staged.  Polling place locations checked one last time.  Last minute training classes held.  All of this will now have to be packed into a shorter window and the potential for a major problem increases

2.  The storm may also create a series of political problems.  If the storm and its aftermath lowers turnout, it could not only affect the outcome of  close races but it could also affect the Presidential race rather directly.  Given how close national polling is between the two candidates, and that the storm hit Obama voters more directly, lower turnout among Democrats may not mean that Obama does not win the affected states but it could mean that we have a re-run of 2000 — an electoral college winner who does not win the popular vote.