Long Islanders will be heading to the polls for a pivotal Election Day on Tuesday, but some voters may be stranded without gas or find their usual polling place has been moved in the wake of Superstorm Sandy.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo has signed an executive order allowing displaced voters to cast an affidavit ballot at polling places not their own. Other voters may find directions to another polling station waiting for them when they show up.
“Just because you’re displaced doesn’t mean you should be disenfranchized,” Cuomo said. “Compared with what we have had to deal with in the past week, [voting] will be a walk in the park.”
Suffolk Board of Elections officials said roughly 31 precincts have been affected by the storm, requiring relocation because of “limited accessibility.” It has notified voters in those locations and posted the location changes, same as Nassau elections officials.
The Oak Beach Community Center will be replaced by the Paul Bellew School, 25 Higbie Lane, West Islip. The Deer Park Senior High School will be replaced by John F. Kennedy Intermediate School, 101 Lake Ave., Deer Park, which will also accommodate those who formerly voted at May Moore Elementary School in Deer Park. Instead of Harding Avenue Elementary School in Lindenhurst, voters in 51 and 96 precincts will now have to vote at the Edward W. Bower Elementary School, 315 West Montauk Highway, Lindenhurst.
In Brookhaven, the Knights of Columbus, 38 West First St., Patchogue, will replace Ocean Bay Park Firehouse. Belle Terre Village Hall will accommodate the 5, 117 and 212 precincts, which is basically no change, but the board believed it was important to make that clear.
In Islip, Bay Shore Middle School, 393 Brook Ave., Bay Shore, will replace Ocean Beach Boat House. For Smithtown, Kings Park High School, 200 Route 25A, Kings Park, will replace Parkview Elementary School. Hauppauge Middle School, 600 Townline Rd., Hauppauge, replaces Forest Brook Elementary School. In Northport, voters who used the Asharoken Village Hall will now have to go the Eaton’s Neck Firehouse, 55 Eaton’s Neck Rd., Eaton’s Neck.
For Nassau’s hard-hit Long Beach area, the following provisions have been made: Those voters who used the West School, the Long Beach Housing Authority, the Long Beach City Hall will now use the Lindell School, 601 Lindell Blvd., Long Beach. Those who used the Temple Emanuel will now vote at East Elementary School, 456 Neptune Blvd., Long Beach. Those who used the Lido Beach Middle School and Point Lookout’s “Old Firehouse” will go to Bishop Molloy Recreational Center, 15 Parkside Drive, Point Lookout. And those who used Atlantic Beach Park and the Atlantic Beach Village Hall will use the East Atlantic Beach Park, 99 Troy Ave., Atlantic Beach.
To ensure that the vote goes smoothly, 800 generators were donated by Briggs & Stratton, a Wisconsin-based company whose representatives flew in Monday to oversee their distribution in cooperation with the National Guard and the Department of Homeland Security.
Most voters may have electricity they need to vote on Election Day. Meanwhile, the campaign trail on LI remains muddy from the storm, although the disruptions were beginning to fade.
Sandy’s effects have been felt in the hottest Congressional race in the country, the contest in the First congressional District in the East End between Rep. Tim Bishop (D-Southampton) and Republican challenger Randy Altschuler.
“Randy still has no power,” said his campaign manager, Diana Weir, adding that since the storm, it ”hasn’t been a normal campaign.” Still, she’s expecting his headquarters in Middle Island to be buzzing on Election Day.
As for the incumbent’s re-election campaign, “it really hasn’t changed that much” because of the storm, said Robert Pierce, a Bishop campaign spokesman, adding that volunteers are car-pooling and relying on buses to take them from Stony Brook University in order to save gas.
“Our ground game, with minor adjustments, is the same thing we’ve been working on for months.” He insists that Bishop’s get-out-the-vote program is “gold-plated” and the envy of candidates across the country. That will surely be put to the test by the Altschuler campaign on Nov. 6.
Registered voters in Nassau and Suffolk can use two web sites to find the location of their voting places. Nassau residents can use http://tinyurl.com/votinginfonassau. Suffolk residents can use http://tinyurl.com/suffolkvoterlookup.