Sandy aftermath may hit Election Day

MICHAEL COOPER

Some New Jersey voters may find their hurricane-damaged polling sites replaced by military trucks, with — in the words of the state's lieutenant governor, Kim Guadagno — "a well-situated national guardsman and a big sign saying, 'Vote Here.' " Half of the polling sites in Nassau County on Long Island still lacked power on Friday. And New York City was planning to build temporary polling sites in tents in some of its worst-hit neighborhoods.

The aftermath of Hurricane Sandy is threatening to create Election Day chaos in some storm-racked sections of New York, New Jersey and Connecticut — and some effects may also be felt in other states, including Pennsylvania, where some polling sites still lacked power on Friday morning.

Disrupted postal delivery will probably slow the return of absentee ballots. And with some polling sites likely to be moved, elections officials were bracing for a big influx of provisional paper ballots — which could delay the vote count in places.

Weary local elections officials vowed that the vote would go on.

"Come hell or high water — we had both — we're voting on Tuesday," William T Biamonte, the Democratic commissioner at the Nassau County Board of Elections, said in an interview.

State and county elections officials are working around the clock to make sure the voting goes as smoothly as possible next week, said Dennis Scott Kobitz, the president of the New Jersey Association of Election Officials.

"I actually slept here last night," Kobitz, the administrator of the board of elections in Union County, New Jersey, said.

A telephone hot line set up by the New York City Board of Elections to help people find their voting sites was out of service.

"Our central phone bank (866 VOTE NYC) is not functioning properly and our Manhattan and Staten Island offices have been closed since Monday due to loss of power," the board's Web site said on Friday.

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