Dan Janison has been a reporter at Newsday since 1997.
If not for New York's role in a national election, perhaps the state could have put off Tuesday's voting for a couple of weeks -- similar to what occurred after terrorists attacked New York City on Primary Day 11 years ago, as upstate consultant Bruce Gyory pointed out late last week.
But postponement is off the agenda -- and Tuesday marks one more step on a journey into uncharted territory for residents of the worst-hit locales, from Coney Island to the Rockaways to Long Beach to Lindenhurst to Mastic Beach, and points in between, north and east.
Local officials scrambled all weekend to plan for temporary alternative voting stations and to try to get word out as to where they are and how ballots can be cast. Looser rules for absentee balloting have been instituted. After the election, charges of irregularities due to emergency arrangements may be expected from those who trail in close races.
How many residents have been forced from the region for the time being? Operatives are already privately speculating about which candidate or party strongholds were decimated -- and where results may be skewed as a result.
Since New York State is still widely expected to go in President Barack Obama's column, and national Republicans long ago stopped talking up the prospects of defeating Democratic Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, political observers agree that the Sandy disruption looms largest district-by-district in the federal and state legislative contests.
Suffolk's 1st Congressional District, featuring a rematch between Rep. Tim Bishop (D-Southampton) and Republican Randy Altschuler, produced TV ads and printed messages that many couldn't see due to power outages and other disruptions. But many who take part Tuesday will have already decided anyway whom they preferred. It will be a matter of interesting post-tally discussion as to which side may have fallen victim to Sandy's unique form of voter suppression.
Low turnout often means volatility. In the Rockaways, the destruction of whole communities makes more unpredictable the effects of a redistricting move by the Senate GOP to unseat Sen. Joseph Addabbo (D-Howard Beach) in favor of New York City Councilman Eric Ulrich (R-Ozone Park), Queens politicos said.
The post-storm, pre-election chaos was so pronounced last week that the Siena College poll canceled voter sampling in key races on Long Island and in the Hudson Valley.