Villages Hope Sandy Won’t Affect Election

Lack of electricity will impact polls come Election Day, officials say.

Rivertowns officials are crossing their fingers that polling stations will be powered before Nov. 6. Sandy's wind and rain are long-over, but the superstorm's wake may have a major impact on the next big story—Election Day.

Hastings-on-Hudson Mayor Peter Swiderski and Irvington Mayor Brian Smith both say they are optimistic that all of the regular polling locations will be open by Tuesday, though some are currently without power.

With over one-hundred-thousand customers still in the dark throughout Westchester, a string of polling places in the county remain without power. Schools, churches and municipal buildings where residents usually cast their electronic ballots are without juice—and may be so for some time.

"Over 150 of Westchester's 380 polling places are without power," Tajian Jones, a spokeswoman with the county's Board of Elections, told Patch Friday at 1:30 p.m. "Some are slowly coming back."

Jones said county officials are currently hashing out contingency plans, but nothing has been finalized.

"We may merge some polling locations together," Jones said, noting one spot without power may be absorbed by a nearby voting place with electricity.

Westchester has been communicating with the State Board of Elections as well, and had hoped to secure generators—but high demand means the portable power may not materialize.

"Because of Sandy, the need is all over the place," Jones said. The board also considered purchasing generators themselves, but just about all retailers are sold out, Jones added.

Polls are open Tuesday, Nov. 6 from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m.

The New York State Board of Elections has extended its absentee ballot deadline, allowing away-from-home voters to send in their choices by Nov. 2. The deadline in usually Oct. 30.

ConEd, who has workers in Westchester's streets scrambling to return power to customers, said no special preference is being given to polling stations.

"Our strategy is to focus on equipment that will return power to the most people," said Sarah Banda, a spokeswoman for the power company.

And while that strategy may help a handful of polling posts get up and running by Tuesday, it's coincidence, not special attention.

Some residents are hoping to avoid the polls entirely—in Briarcliff Manor, officials told Patch people in the area are seeking absentee ballots.

While nearby Putnam County is anticipating a relatively normal Election Day, Rockland County is seeing issues similar to Westchester's. The Rockland Board of Elections said 68 of the county's 80 polling places were powerless as of Thursday afternoon.

"Right now we are in contact with the state, requesting emergency generators," said Lou Babcock, one of the county's election commissioners. Babcock is also seeking lights, power cords and gasoline to run the generators.

If voting locations do not have power to run the ballot scanners, election officials will store the ballot sheets in a locked container, and feed them through the machines at a later date or different location, Babcock said.

"There could be a two to three day delay," he added.

Babcock says shuttering a polling site would be a last-ditch plan.

"We are not looking at closing any of the polling sites," he said. "If we do have to, there will be signage on our website, and we will communicate through radio and TV—but most people without electricity don't have radio or TV, so they wont know until they're at polling sites."

Here are polling locations in Hastings-on-Hudson:

  • Andrus on Hudson (currently has power) - 185 Old Broadway
  • Uniontown Fire House (currently has power) – 25 Rose St.
  • Protection Engine Company One – 573 Warburton Ave. (currently has power)
  • James Harmon Community (currently without power) – 44 Main St.
  • Riverview Manor Fire House (currently without power)  - 83 Euclid Ave.

Irvington polling locations are as follows:

  • Irvington Public Library (currently with power) – 12 S. Astor St.
  • Irvington Village Hall (currently with power) – 85 Main St.
  • Immaculate Conception Church (currently without power)– 16 N. Broadway
  • Dows Lane Elementary School (currently without power) – 6 Dows Ln.

Check back with us for Dobbs Ferry locations and click here to find out where your polling location is. 

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