"Questions have arisen about what actions might be taken by the federal government to respond to the possible impacts of Hurricane Sandy on the November 6 election in affected states. Since 1860, several federal primary elections or local elections have been postponed following catastrophic events, and on at least three occasions in the last 20 years, the federal government has provided funding or assistance to state or local governments engaged in conducting such elections. Those were primary elections affected by Hurricane Andrew in Florida (1992), the terrorist attacks in New York (2001), and Hurricane Katrina in Louisiana (2005). Although none of the events affected general elections, they may be instructive with respect to response to problems created by Hurricane Sandy. According to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), 16 states plus the District of Columbia received impacts from Hurricane Sandy. In several cases, election-related activities have been or are likely to be affected. Impacts and responses include (1) suspension, and subsequent extension, of early voting hours, (2) loss of regular polling places from damage, destruction, or power outages, (3) extension of voter registration deadlines, (4) extension of deadlines for accepting absentee ballots, (5) expanded use of provisional ballots and ballots submitted by e-mail and fax, and (6) use of alternative polling places, including U.S. military resources."
CRS Report for Congress, R42808
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