Voters displaced by superstorm Sandy will be able to cast provisional ballots at polling stations outside of their regular district Tuesday, under an order signed by Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo on the eve of Election Day.
Under the order, voters would sign affidavits that they are legally registered and vote wherever they can reach an open polling site.
A voter would be able to vote in the presidential and U.S. Senate contests but might not be able to vote in state Senate and Assembly elections if he/she is physically casting a vote outside his/her home district. For example, a Nassau County resident who has relocated to Suffolk County could vote for president but not in the local Senate and Assembly contests.
The governor called it a tradeoff.
“We want every one to vote. Just because you are displaced doesn’t mean you should be disenfranchised,” the governor said. “But in the local races, if you vote in a different Assembly district, a different Senate district, your vote will not count in that district. That is the downside to the system.”
The provisional-voting proposal is backed by some good-government groups. But some critics pointed out that it would be very difficult to later check all provisional ballots to ensure the validity of votes.
Cuomo said the executive order is an "extraordinary" move. "It's not going to be easy," he said of Tuesday's voting. "But look at it this way, compared to what we've had to deal with in the past week, this is going to be a walk in the park - going out and voting."
Earlier, New Jersey said it would permit displaced voters to cast provisional ballots in polling stations outside of their regularly assigned site.
“There are just too many security risks to the validity of the election,” said Doug Kellner, co-chairman of the New York State Board of Elections.