Sandy disrupts voting; U.S. Northeast braces for new storm
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The aftermath of Superstorm Sandy created chaos and long lines at voting stations in the U.S. Northeast on Tuesday while officials braced for a new storm due to batter the region on Wednesday.
The former hurricane that walloped New York and New Jersey eight days ago continued to create misery for the thousands who lost their homes and 900,000 households and businesses that remained without power.
Voters casting ballots for the U.S. president endured confusion at makeshift polling stations. In New York City's Rockaways, a badly damaged barrier island community facing the Atlantic, people whose homes were damaged or destroyed or lacked power went to vote in a tent.
This is OK, said voter Alex Valger, comparing the polling place to near-freezing temperatures at home. You ever try to sleep in a house where there is no heating control and the temperature outside is 34 (Fahrenheit)?
In Brooklyn's Coney Island neighborhood, still far from recovered from Sandy's onslaught, voting had to be relocated from one school to another that lacked handicap access.
At least two voters had to be carried up the 17 steps, said Sally Stein, the polling place coordinator. Election board officials also made them relocate to another room halfway through the day because they considered the first room a fire hazard.
I'm very disgusted today, very disgusted, Stein said.
Still crawling out the devastation of Sandy, the region braced for a smaller but powerful storm, a nor'easter due to bring 60-mph (95-kph) winds and a mix of rain and snow on Wednesday and Thursday. Temperatures could dip toward freezing or below.
New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg ordered all city parks and beaches closed at noon on Wednesday for at least 24 hours.
We just don't need to send our first responders into the ocean to save someone who is being foolish, Bloomberg said.