"Just because you're displaced doesn't mean you're disenfranchised."
It's evident that, a week after Sandy, thousands of New Yorkers are still reeling from her aftermath, many of them without homes, power or, particularly on Election Day, the ability to get anywhere near their assigned polling station. Although the plight of the displaced might be prioritized over casting a ballot, the threat of missing hundreds, if not thousands, of votes has become a major issue here, in New Jersey and in the rest of the Sandy-stricken states.
For this reason, Governor Cuomo, in a statement
that included the line above, declared a measure that would allow all New Yorkers to vote from anywhere in the state. But
, there's a stipulation: you can only vote for the President and Senate from a different location; you cannot vote for your local elections if you're not in your own district.
Today, any displaced voter in New York can walk into a polling station, sign an affidavit and choose the next President and Senator from New York. According to Cuomo, this was an "extraordinary" but necessary compromise: "We want everyone to vote... But in the local races, if you vote in a different Assembly district, a different Senate district, your vote will not count in that district. That is the downside to the system."
New Jersey is also taking a similar path with these 'provisional' ballots; however, it has also been stated that voters there can send in their choice via e-mail. That idea didn't fly in New York (probably because it's, uhm, insane). But, hey, it's for democracy, right?
Nonetheless, the executive order clears the way for thousands to have their voices heard amongst the disaster. 'Voter suppression' is not in the New York vocabulary. We do the opposite and that's enough to be grateful for.
For Governor Cuomo's full statement, click here. And, for a full list of where you can vote tomorrow, you can enter your location here. Also, we compiled a list of ways to donate to displaced residents here.
Happy Election Day! Don't worry; it'll be over soon enough.