Catastrophe voting: The Senate-Rockaway dilemma

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An aerial view of part of the state An aerial view of part of the state Senate district where a competitive race was expected on Tuesday. Photo Credit: Doug Kuntz

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Over the next couple of days there should be announcements about Election Day polling in Nassau and the Rockaways. For the most-affected parts of Queens, discussions among state officials have focused on setting “super polling sites” such as Aqueduct Racetrack and the public libraries that take in wide areas.

Voting locations would have big implications for what before Sandy was expected to be a tough re-election race for Democratic Sen. Joseph Addabbo. The challenge for the seat by Republican Eric Ulrich — in a district redrawn by Republicans earlier this year — could bear on the Senate’s currently thin majority. And what were expected to be new Ulrich strongholds such as the area around Breezy Point have, as all know by now, been devastated with a horrid dose of fire, flood, and loss of life.

To say the least, nobody’s going around in sound trucks in shorefront communities blaring “Happy Days Are Here Again.” But some Republicans might be concerned that if polling places aren’t provided in the communities, it could further skew an already suppressed outcome. Beyond that, it's hard to say where many of the residents of those communities are or will be on Tuesday. Absentee ballot deadlines pass today. If there is one suspenseful race where the terrain is altered by the Sandy disaster, this may be it.

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