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PICS: Sandy-hit NY, New Jersey vote in large numbers

Last updated on: November 6, 2012 21:32 IST

PICS: Sandy-hit NY, New Jersey vote in large numbers

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Yoshita Singh in New York

Residents of New York and New Jersey, the two American 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 on 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.

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Image: A man presents his voter ID card to a poll worker to vote in the U.S. residential election at a displaced polling center in the Coney Island section of Brooklyn, New York
Photographs: Brendan McDermid/Reuters

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PICS: Sandy-hit NY, New Jersey vote in large numbers

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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.

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Image: A man looks over his ballot to vote in the US presidential election at a displaced polling center in the Coney Island section of Brooklyn, New York
Photographs: Brendan McDermid/Reuters

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PICS: Sandy-hit NY, New Jersey vote in large numbers

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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.

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Image: A sign directs voters during the U.S. presidential election at a displaced polling center in the Coney Island section of Brooklyn, New York
Photographs: Brendan McDermid/Reuters

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PICS: Sandy-hit NY, New Jersey vote in large numbers

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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 the 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.


Image: A voter waits for her turn to vote in the US presidential election at a displaced polling center in the Coney Island section of Brooklyn, New York
Photographs: Brendan McDermid/Reuters

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