New Jersey's largest city, Newark, is under a state of emergency. At least half its residents don't have power and three people have died as a result of the storm. At a news conference Thursday, Mayor Cory Booker said he's had preliminary conversations regarding Election Day but does not yet have a plan for getting people to the polls.
"I have a lot of faith in the power of this democracy, the resiliency of our communities and that when Election Day comes we will make a way for people to vote," Booker said.
County election officials along New Jersey's storm-battered Atlantic Coast were taking it upon themselves to assess the damage to polling places and determine contingency plans.
Michael Kennedy, the Democratic registrar for the board of elections in hard-hit Cape May County on the Atlantic Coast, said many polling places would have to be combined. "It's still a pretty big mess out there. Some of them are under water and out of power," Kennedy said of the polling sites.
Kennedy said he was also concerned about having enough volunteers to staff the sites. "A lot of our poll workers live on barrier islands and were relocated because of the storm," he said.
In Connecticut, Gov. Dan Malloy signed an executive order extending the voter registration deadline until Thursday — it had been Oct. 30 — to accommodate people affected by the storm. Connecticut's strict voting rules — the state does not have early voting, and residents can only request an absentee ballot if they are out of the area — added urgency to the task of preparing polling places.
Secretary of the State Denise Merrill was holding daily conference calls with some 260 local election officials to determine their needs, her spokesman, Av Harris, said.
"Could some polling places be moved? Yes. There are procedures in place, and people are volunteering to help out," Av Harris said. "This is New England, people help their neighbors. That's the best way to get through this."
Associated Press writers Geoff Mulvihill and Katie Zezima in New Jersey and Jennifer Peltz in New York contributed to this report.
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