Date: October 26, 2012
Source: Prison Planet
Abstract: The huge ‘Frankenstorm’ set to hit the northeast coast before Halloween threatens to cause widespread disruption – but could it serve to delay the election and stall Mitt Romney’s momentum going into the final days of the presidential campaign?
Hurricane Sandy was recently downgraded to a category one, however, as IB Times reports, “Computer models are predicting that Hurricane Sandy will meet up with another storm system, which could produce the grave “perfect storm” that could potentially devastate the North East Coast.”
Experts are predicting that the “Frankenstorm” could “become the worst to hit the U.S. Northeast in 100 years if current forecasts are correct.”
On the face of it, Hurricane Sandy is likely to be more of a concern amongst the Obama camp. For a start, if it does make landfall it’s almost guaranteed to hit areas on the coast where Obama is dominant.
Furthermore, a recent poll conducted by Ipsos for The Weather Channel found that Mitt Romney supporters are more likely to vote in bad weather.
“Among registered voters, those who plan to vote for Obama are more likely than Romney voters to say that bad weather conditions would have a significant or moderate impact on their getting to the polls (28 percent vs. 19 percent),” the survey found.
However, the hurricane is also set to impact key swing states where Romney is seen as having momentum.
Due to Obama’s greater focus on having his supporters vote early, others have pointed out that bad weather on election day could be disastrous for Romney.
“Obama has been effective at getting voters to vote early, so anything affecting turnout on Election Day is likely to be bad news for Romney,” John Hudak, a governance studies fellow at Brookings, told U.S. News & World Report. “It would certainly set up a benefit to the president if a natural disaster did interrupt voting.”
If the storm is anywhere near the scale of Hurricane Katrina, the presidential election would almost certainly have to be postponed, which would only work in Obama’s favor given that Romney is currently riding high in the polls.
If the hurricane brings destruction and devastation, Obama will undoubtedly seek to exploit the opportunity to grandstand as a leader and protector, affording him the at least a taste of the kind of revered status enjoyed by President Bush in the aftermath of 9/11.
AccuWeather.com Meteorologist Bernie Rayno is predicting “power outages and flooding” as a worst case scenario that could disrupt early voting in some states.
“That could have an impact even a week later depending on how bad the storm is,” Rayno added.
Yahoo News is speculating that the hurricane could be the “October surprise” many have been waiting for – an unforeseen event could provide an election twist because “some power outages could last into Election Day.”
“The storm is so wide that it will likely bring severe conditions to an area inhabited by 66 million people, including parts of North Carolina, Virginia, West Virginia, Ohio, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland, the District of Columbia, New York, and Connecticut,” writes Scott Bomboy.
Some are even speculating that the hurricane could be artificially steered in order to impact the election.
The fact that weather weapons are used to manipulate meteorological conditions for public events is now common knowledge.
As far back as the 1960′s, the U.S. government had the technology to steer hurricanes, according to weather modification expert Ben Livingston, who briefed President Lyndon B. Johnson on the effectiveness of weather control activities and helped oversee their use during the Vietnam war.
“In the 1960s, a
national priority of our government was hurricane control,” Livingston told the
Reporter Telegram. “Silver iodide is used as a nuclei that causes raindrops
to form. The original hypothesis is that if you get enough rain or cool air
into a hurricane you can diminish its velocity and strength. When I left the
military in the 1960s, we had the ability to do that, and reduce wind velocity
in hurricanes by 25 percent and damage caused by a hurricane by 63 percent” (Prison
Sandy: Could It Push Back The Election?
Date: October 29, 2012
Abstract: The Federal Emergency Management Agency is preparing for Hurricane Sandy to disrupt next week’s elections, agency Administrator Craig Fugate said Monday afternoon.
“We are anticipating that, based on the storm, there could be impacts that would linger into next week and have impacts on the federal election,” Fugate said on a conference call with reporters.
But any potential tinkering with Election Day would bring a bevy of legal issues.
“Our chief counsel’s been working on making sure that we have the proper guidance,” he added. “We’re going through the regulatory policy and making sure all that’s in place and we can support it.”
Fugate did not address whether the election could be delayed — a question that federal officials said last week is up for states to decide.
“Whether the election can be postponed or not is a legal black hole,” said Adam Winkler, a law professor at the University of California at Los Angeles. “There’s very little precedent for such an act.”
Federal law requires presidential elections to be held on the Tuesday after the first Monday in November, but it also provides that if a state “has failed to make a choice on the day prescribed by law, the electors may be appointed on a subsequent day in such a manner as the legislature of such State may direct.”
In case of emergencies that threaten to disrupt voting, the federal Election Assistance Commission advises state election officials to “review existing State law to determine if the Governor has the power to cancel an election or designate alternative methods for distribution of ballots.”
At the moment, Fugate said, authorities don’t have enough information about Sandy’s impacts.
“It’s really too early to say what will be the impacts of the storm, and that’s why it’s again important that we’ll be supporting the governors’ teams and their supervisors of election or secretaries of state as they determine what … assistance they may need,” he said.
That lack of information also extends to legal circles, which have only just today begun to discuss the issue, Winkler said.
One primary issue is that any weather bad enough to postpone an election would likely have to be catastrophic in scale, UCLA Center for the Liberal Arts and Free Institutions Director Daniel Lowenstein wrote to POLITICO in an email.
“There is always
likely to be some bad weather somewhere and various other kinds of problems on
election day,” he said. “To warrant any kind of postponement of the election,
it would have to be truly extraordinary and pretty widespread.”
Based on what little legal precedent there is — most of which is because of concerns over terrorism — plus the role of the states in administering elections, the president and Congress aren’t very likely to step in, according to Winkler.
A prominent example is New York’s Sept. 11, 2001, mayoral primary was postponed due to the terrorist attacks on that city.
Winkler also pointed to the 2004 election, during which concerns about terrorist attacks disrupting the election swirled.
The House of Representatives that year overwhelming passed a resolution declaring that “the actions of terrorists will never cause the date of any Presidential election to be postponed; and … no single individual or agency should be given the authority to postpone the date of a Presidential election.”
Then-Sen. Joe Biden rejected the idea of setting up a contingency plan to postpone an election, saying it would only give terrorists new resolve.
“I think that is the worst idea in the world,” Biden said in a 2004 interview on ABC’s “This Week with George Stephanopoulos,” according to a transcript. “Essentially acknowledging to the whole world we think we’re going to be attacked before this happens, I think it is absolutely mindless with all due respect.”
The symbolism behind postponing an election because of a terrorist attack versus a natural disaster is very different, Winkler said — but the legal mechanism is pretty much the same.
If Sandy presents enough of an issue for Congress to intervene, then lawmakers might be more willing to do so because there is no enemy to dissuade.
“What we’ve seen in past elections is that the parties will come together to solve an emergency crisis that interferes with voting,” Winkler said. “So while the law is unclear, I think the parties would come together should any serious emergency arise and find a pragmatic, workable solution.”
“Wouldn’t that be nice for a change?” he added jokingly.
Of course, expect any change to Election Day to bring a host of lawsuits.
Without much precedent to go on, though, Winkler predicts courts will back up any changes made in Sandy’s wake.
“Just as the parties tend to come together to solve these kinds of crises, the courts usually recognize the legitimacy of these pragmatic workarounds,” Winkler said.
A 2004 Congressional Research Service report notes that there is no constitutional instruction or federal law on postponing a federal election.
However, the report theorizes that presidential emergency power could be used to delay an election — specifically, if “attacks, disruptions and destruction are so severe and so dangerous in certain localities, particularly in crowded urban areas, that the President under a rule of necessity may look to protect the public safety by federalizing State national guard and restricting movement and activities in such areas which would obviously affect the ability to conduct an election at those sites.”Congress could also theoretically step in and pass a law or give that power to the president, the report says. Courts have typically left it up to Congress to set election procedures (Politico, 2012).
Could Sandy Postpone The Election?
Date: October 30, 2012
Source: My Way
Abstract: One week before a close election, superstorm Sandy has confounded the presidential race, halted early voting in many areas and led some to ponder whether the election might even be postponed.
It could take days to restore electricity to more than 8 million homes and businesses that lost power when the storm pummeled the East Coast. That means it's possible power could still be out in parts of some states on Election Day next Tuesday - a major problem for precincts that rely on electronic voting machines.
But as the storm breached the coast, even some of those intimately involved in the election seemed in the dark about what options are available to cope with the storm. Asked Monday whether President Barack Obama had the power to reschedule the election, White House press secretary Jay Carney said he wasn't sure.
Some questions and
answers about what's possible and not when it comes to reworking Election Day.
Q. Could the Nov. 6 election be changed?
A. Yes, but it's
highly unlikely, and it's not up to the president. Congress sets the date for
the presidential election - the Tuesday after the first Monday in November,
every fourth year. Congress could act within the next week to change the date,
but that would be tough because lawmakers are on recess and back home in their
districts campaigning for re-election. Plus, it's likely that would mean
changing the date for the entire country, not just those affected by the storm.
What's more, Congress only selects the date for federal races, so changing the
date would wreak havoc for state and local elections also scheduled for Nov. 6.
States might have to hold two separate days of voting, which could bust state
Q. What about pushing back the election just in some states?
A. It's possible, but the legal issues get tricky. States, by and large, are in charge of their own elections. Each state has its own laws dealing with what to do if an emergency jeopardizes voting and who can make the call. Federal law says that if a state fails to conduct an election for federal races on the day Congress chooses, the state legislature can pick a later date. But state and federal laws don't always jive perfectly. Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell has said his state's laws don't grant him authority to reschedule the presidential election.
Q. Have elections
ever been postponed before?
A. Yes, but not on the presidential level. New York City was holding its mayoral primary when terrorists struck on Sept. 11, 2001, and the city rescheduled the election. After Hurricane Katrina in 2005, Louisiana's governor postponed municipal elections in New Orleans after elections officials said polling places wouldn't be ready.
Q. Other than rescheduling the election, can anything else be done?
A. Voting hours could be extended at various locations. In places where electronic voting machines are in use, paper ballots could be used instead. Some areas also might choose to move polling locations if existing ones are damaged, inaccessible or won't have power on Election Day.
Q. Would those options create any other problems?
A. Lots. If poll hours are extended, under a 2002 law passed by Congress in response to the disputed 2000 presidential election, any voters who show up outside of regular hours must use provisional ballots, which are counted later and could be challenged. Sandy's impact was felt in some of the most competitive states in the presidential race, including Virginia and Ohio. The more provisional ballots that are cast, the greater the chances are that the winner won't be known until days or even weeks after the election.
There's another issue if poll hours are extended in some areas - such as counties with the worst storm damage - and not in others. That could prompt lawsuits under the Constitution's Equal Protection Clause, said Edward Foley, an election law expert at The Ohio State University.
Relocating polling places is also risky because it could drive down turnout, said Neil Malhotra, a political economist at Stanford University's Graduate School of Business. "If you disrupt their routine and the polling place they've always been going to, even if you don't move it very far, they vote less," he said.
Q. What is the federal government doing to help?
A. The Federal
Emergency Management Agency's administrator, Craig Fugate, said Monday he
anticipated the storm's impact could linger into next week and affect the
election. He said FEMA would look at what support it could provide to states
before the election. "This will be led by the states," he said (My Way, 2012).
Board Of Elections: It’s Possible Voting May Be Permitted Beyond Tuesday
Date: November 2, 2012
Source: CBS NY
Abstract: New York state law allows for an extra day of voting if turnout is drastically suppressed because of a natural disaster like Superstorm Sandy. That could potentially postpone state, congressional and even presidential election results beyond Tuesday’s Election Day.
State Board of Elections spokesman John Conklin confirmed Friday that the law permits election commissioners to create a second day of voting if the turnout in any county is less than 25 percent of the total number of registered voters.
The commissioners, two Democrats and two Republicans, would make that decision after Election Day. Any second day would have to be scheduled within 20 days.
Something like this has never happened before, but due to the extraordinary circumstances currently hitting New York, it could.
Officials were checking polling sites Friday to make sure they can open Tuesday.
Typical turnout is about 60 percent in most areas.
With every state along Sandy’s destructive path using electronic voting machines, election officials were pressing local electric companies to make restoring power a priority to places that were to serve as polling places.
“We’ve provided lists of poll sites to local utilities, and some of the voting machines do have battery backup,” New York State Board of Elections spokesman Tom Connolly said. “We are also planning to get generators to polling sites, but it’s not like we have an unlimited supply of generators.”
Elected leaders across the states affected by Sandy were taking different approaches to the impending vote tallies.
In hard-hit New York City, Mayor Michael Bloomberg referred all voting-related questions to the city Board of Elections. But he said recovery crews were working hard to restore electricity to schools, many of which serve as polling places. Voting should proceed smoothly in those places, he said.
“There are some where there were transformers in the basement that were damaged — the Board of Elections will have to find alternative locations,” Bloomberg said at a news conference.
Elections spokeswoman Valerie Vazquez said officials were determining the condition of polling places around the five New York boroughs even as the storm stripped power from the agency’s headquarters, forcing workers into temporary office space.“Our trucks are loaded and ready for delivery of all voting materials and equipment once we know that sites have not been damaged,” Vazquez said. Elections officials, she said, “will be working around the clock and through the weekend to make sure that all voting sites receive everything they need to be up and running on Election Day” (CBS NY, 2012).