Election Law Journal: Rules, Politics, and Policy
Stein, Robert M.
What steps can and do local election officials take to prepare for and respond to natural disasters and emergencies that impede and disrupt the operation of scheduled elections? How efficacious are these actions and practices, and to what extent, if any, can these practices be generalized to the 3,000+jurisdictions charged with conducting elections? In this article I address these questions by examining the conduct of the 2012 presidential election in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy. I find several correctives for the disruptive effect of emergencies and natural disasters on voter participation including state laws that afford voters opportunities to ballot before Election Day and the number and staffing of polling places. These correctives provide clear guidance for the conduct of elections outside of natural disasters and emergencies.