Stormy Tuesday?
October 28, 2012 3:28 PM   Subscribe

What if there's a natural disaster on election day? Are there state and/or federal contingencies?
posted by j_curiouser to Law & Government (4 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
I can report that September 11th, 2001 was an election day in New York City; they seemed to have a plan in place to suspend voting fairly quickly, and announced a future date to hold the election. I cannot speak to Federal law, but it strikes me that this is the sort of thing that has at least happened a few times and for which there is some kind of plan in place for.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 3:42 PM on October 28, 2012 [1 favorite]

9/11 occurred on the mayoral primary election day in New York City. The election was cancelled that day and rescheduled for Sept. 25. (I remember even thinking about still going to vote that morning, after the attacks, but I remained transfixed to the TV and phone until ultimately the news came out that the primary had been postponed.)

Another example of an election being moved were the 2008 fall elections in Louisiana, thanks to Hurricane Gustav. (I remain convinced that this actually had an effect on the House race in LA-04, because the general election took place in December, instead of the usual November date, when enthusiasm for Obama was at its peak and would have helped Democrat Paul Carmouche. Carmouche wound up losing very narrowly.)

Obviously a nationwide election presents a different set of challenges, but I imagine that if voting were impossible in certain areas, the same thing would have to happen. And the campaign would simply continue in the affected states. (And that would be true even if there were already a clear winner in the presidential race, because there are tons of downballot races taking place along the eastern seaboard.)
posted by Conrad Cornelius o'Donald o'Dell at 3:46 PM on October 28, 2012

In the event that anyone is still following this, the link in this MeFi comment link seems relevant.
posted by TedW at 11:24 AM on October 31, 2012

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