Political Notebook

Storm-damaged states scramble to be ready for Tuesday voting

New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg noted that changes to polling stations would affect some 143,000 New Yorkers.
New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg noted that changes to polling stations would affect some 143,000 New Yorkers.

NEW YORK — Power generators are being marshaled, polling locations moved, and voting machines hurriedly put into place as officials prepare to hold a national election in storm-ravaged sections of New York and New Jersey barely a week after Hurricane Sandy.

Organizers expressed guarded confidence Sunday that the presidential vote will proceed with no major disruptions in most areas hit by the storm, though it was unclear whether the preparations would be enough to avoid depressed turnout in communities where people still lack power or have been driven from their damaged homes.

Some voters will be casting ballots in places different from their usual polls.


In Long Beach, N.Y., a barrier-island city that was inundated with water during the storm, the number of polling places, usually 11, will be cut to four. Residents of the devastated borough of Sea Bright, on the New Jersey shore, will have to drive two towns over to vote.

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But with two days to go until Election Day, officials in both states said Sunday that they were overcoming many of their biggest challenges.

Hundreds of emergency generators have been rushed into place to ensure power at polling places, even if the neighborhoods around them are still dark. Electric utilities were putting a priority on restoring power to others and had assured election officials they would be up and running by Monday.

Of the 1,256 polling locations in New York City, only 59 needed to be moved or closed, said Valerie Vazquez, a spokeswoman for the city’s Board of Elections.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg noted that the changes would affect some 143,000 New Yorkers. There were concerns about whether some poll workers might fail to show up.


‘‘Over the next day, it’s going to be critical that the Board of Elections communicate this new information to their poll workers,’’ he said.

Just east of the city, in Nassau County, Elections Commissioner William Biamonte warned that some voting locations would have a ‘‘paramilitary look,’’ with portable toilets, emergency lighting, and voting machines running off generators. As of Sunday, the county had 266,000 homes and business without power — more than anywhere in the state.

Utility companies in Connecticut promised that all polling places in that state would have power Tuesday, and voting officials were confident that polls would open normally.

New Jersey residents driven from their homes  were being given extra voting options.

Registered voters will be able to apply for an absentee ballot by fax or e-mail right through 5 p.m. on Election Day and cast it until 8 p.m. Displaced voters can also cast provisional ballots at any polling place in the state.


For some residents of the hardest-hit areas in the region, the hassle of having to travel even a few miles to find an open polling place was likely to be one burden too many.

On Staten Island, where two polling locations were being relocated due to storm problems, bus driver Jim Holden said the election should be postponed. ‘‘People can’t get out to vote. Half these cars are under water,’’ he said.

Results coverage aims to dazzle

NEW YORK — Americans have an array of alternatives for following election returns on Tuesday night. Television news divisions are throwing everything they have into the story, and second-screen options are abounding.

Virtually all of the media organizations covering the election promise a huge amount of information available online, from interactive maps that display state-by-state results to data from exit polls. It’s expected to be a big night for social media, and news organizations say they will monitor the conversations and have their own journalists actively participate.

Here’s a guide to the lineup:

 Diane Sawyer and George Stephanopoulos are ABC’s anchor team; Barbara Walters offers historical perspective, and Katie Couric monitors social media. A separate live stream, anchored by Dan Harris, will be shown on ABC and partner Yahoo’s websites.

 NBC’s Brian Williams will be joined by David Gregory and Savannah Guthrie. Anchor emeritus Tom Brokaw will talk about trends and history. Chuck Todd will fill the numbers role that had been handled by the late Tim Russert. NBC will live-stream its coverage on various platforms, including Facebook.

 Scott Pelley of CBS News will anchor, joined by Bob Schieffer, Norah O’Donnell, and John Dickerson. Byron Pitts monitors congressional races, and Anthony Mason analyzes exit poll data.

 CNN will have Wolf Blitzer and Anderson Cooper as anchors, with 10 analysts lined up to deliver opinions.

 Bret Baier and Megyn Kelly are coanchors for Fox News Channel’s coverage, with analysis from Chris Wallace and Brit Hume.

 Rachel Maddow is the star of MSNBC’s show, with the rest of the network’s prime-time team chiming in.

 PBS is offering online coverage throughout Election Day, switching to TV in the evening. Gwen Ifill and Judy Woodruff will be coanchors, with historians Michael Beschloss and Richard Norton Smith taking the big-picture approach.

 C-SPAN will take its minimalist approach to coverage on its two separate networks, offering results and victory and concession speeches from around the country.

 Former vice president Al Gore will lead Current’s coverage, which also prominently features live Twitter streams.