As we continue preparing for the approaching storm, state officials are working to not only prepare for our safety, but to also make sure Hurricane Sandy has a minimal impact on the state’s absentee voting process and preparations for November’s General Election.
The Virginia State Board of Elections, or SBE, is coordinating with the Virginia Department of Emergency Management in conjunction with the Emergency Operations Center, Virginia State Police, Virginia Department of Transportation, and major utility providers
“SBE is in close communication with Virginia’s 134 general registrars and electoral boards to monitor developments at the local level and provide guidance and support to the localities as necessary,” said Virginia State Board of Elections Secretary Don Palmer.
In the event of a power outage and closure of other government buildings, general registrar offices will remain open and continue the in-person voting process, unless conditions make it unsafe for employees or voters. However, the final closure decision will be made by local authorities or first responders.
Voters will also be allowed to vote absentee if they do not feel they can make it to the polls in person because of the storm.
If we do lose power, SBE has been assured that the polling places and registrar offices will be given a high priority for restoration of power following the storm. Electronic voting machines do have backup batteries, and there is also the option of using paper ballots as a last resort.
Finally, if there are lingering power issues, Virginia law permits local electoral boards to request an emergency polling place relocation if needed for Election Day.