October 28, 2012
WHAT IF POWER IS OUT ON ELECTION DAY?: Hurricane Sandy is expected to make landfall tomorrow in the area between DC and NYC. Power outages are expected and may conceivably last through Election Day (Nov. 6). Given the ubiquity of computerized voting, how will this affect the election?
The only salient language I can find in the Constitution is in Art. II, sec. 1: “The Congress may determine the Time of chusing the Electors, and the Day on which they shall give their Votes; which Day shall be the same throughout the United States.”
Art. II thus requires a uniform day of counting the electors’ votes (but not necessarily the popular vote). It would seem Congress could (and indeed, has) enact a statute that would delay counting of electoral votes, to some day after Nov. 6.
UPDATE: Under the current Electoral Count Act, electors cast their votes on the first Monday after the second Wed. in December (Dec. 17, 2012), and of course the votes are “counted” in a joint session of Congress on Jan. 6.
ANOTHER UPDATE: From the North Shore Journal, a useful aggregation of statements from NY, NJ and VA about their plans to deal with Hurricane Sandy’s impact on Election Day. H/T to Chuck Simmins.