Spin Cycle

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Election postponement would seem unlikely

Even if there are impacts, it seems unlikely that Election Day could be postponed because of superstorm Sandy.

A Congressional Research Service report commissioned in 2004 in the wake of 9/11 examined whether presidential elections could be delayed and found there is no law that provides express authority to “postpone” an election. To do so, it said Congress would have to take the extraordinary step of passing a new law that overrides its 1845 decision to make Election Day the Tuesday following the first Monday in November.

Additionally, not many states even have legal provisions for delaying an election.

New York law allows for the postponement of voting for just one day -- and only if officials determine that “a fire, earthquake, tornado, explosion, power failure, act of sabotage, enemy attack or other disaster” would cause less fewer than 25 percent of registered voters to go the polls. (See page 68 of NYS Election law.)

New Jersey and Pennsylvania do not have election-emergency statutes on the books, according to a recent report by the law school at Ohio State University.

Power supply could be the real issue for Long Island polling places. The old, lever-style machines didn't require electricity. The new machines do. Nassau County election officials said they are working with utility companies and the state to address polling  sites that, as of today, don't have power.

Tags: Hurricane Sandy , presidential election

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