US elections: New York, New Jersey goes out to vote
New York: Residents of New York and New Jersey, the two US states worst hit by the superstorm Sandy, braved near freezing temperatures and adjusted to changes in polling procedures as they came out in large numbers to vote for the country`s next president Tuesday.
Amid concerns that the devastation caused by last week`s hurricane Sandy will impact voter turnout in the northeast states, including Connecticut, officials put in place new voting procedures and changed ballot rules to accommodate the millions of residents who were still grappling with power outages, displacement and a public transport system that is yet to return to its full efficiency.
The temperatures dipped below -1 degree celsius overnight, as fears of another storm hitting the already- ravaged New Jersey and New York coastlines raised concerns among residents and election officials.
In New York, which has 29 electoral votes, Governor Andrew Cuomo ordered that the mass transit authority would run bus shuttle service on Election Day to carry voters from damaged polling places to alternate sites established by the Board of Election on Staten Island and Coney Island and in the Rockaways.
The free shuttle buses, which would run every 15 minutes, would be in addition to other schedule bus service in the areas.
The buses would be marked by "Voter Shuttle" destination signs, and will run through the day to help voters, particularly those displaced by the storm, get to the polling stations.
Election officials also expressed optimism that power would be restored in most polling places in areas hit by the storm.
The states have also taken unprecedented measures to ensure voters are able to cast their ballots despite disruptions to their normal lives in the wake of Sandy.
In New York, 60 poll sites have been relocated to 26 `supersites` and Cuomo signed an executive order that displaced New Yorkers can vote at any polling place in the state.
In New Jersey, Governor Chris Christie had announced that an e-mail and fax voting system would be in place to enable displaced residents to vote electronically.
A week after Sandy battered the shoreline, election officials in Connecticut said flooding and power outages will not be an obstacle.
Of 773 voting precincts in Connecticut, only two are being moved to alternate locations - one in New London, the other in Bridgeport.
Officials expect between 75 and 80 per cent of the state`s nearly 2.1 million registered voters to cast ballots.
New Jersey Division of Elections said less than 100 polling places around the state were without power as compared to 800 last week.
While the state was prepared to use military trucks as polling stations, officials said voters would be able to cast ballots at their regular polling sites.
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