New York Governor Andrew Cuomo
By Joseph Spector, Albany Bureau Chief
ALBANY -- Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed an executive order to allow people displaced by Superstorm Sandy to vote at polling places outside their home districts.
"We want everyone to vote. Just because you're displaced doesn't mean you're disenfranchised," Cuomo said at a news conference Monday evening.
Cuomo said that residents who vote outside their home district would be able to vote for statewide races and for president anywhere in the state. They would be unable to vote in certain races -- such as for the state Legislature and local seats -- if they are voting in a district outside their home district. Residents would have to vote by affidavit ballot.
WEB EXTRA: Erie County Residents Can Click Here to Type In Their Address and Find Their Polling Place
Superstorm Sandy sent elections officials into a final scramble Monday to find polling sites for areas hard hit by the storm.
State elections officials said some polling places will operate Tuesday on back-up generators or be moved to locations with power.
The state Board of Elections on Monday said some polling places in Rockland, Orange, Sullivan and Suffolk counties have already been relocated.
"When it comes to Election Day you try to get as much information out as possible ahead of time," said Thomas Connolly, a state elections board spokesman. "As far as the old locations, you at the very least have signage, if not people posted there so that when someone goes to a polling site, there's someone there to say it has been moved."
The elections board has set up a toll-free number to assist voters with questions about voting, poll site changes and absentee ballots. The number is 1-855-NYS-SANDY (1-855-697-7263).
The state's elections website (www.elections.ny.gov) will have updated changes to polling sites. New York City residents can check the city's Board of Elections in the City of New York website (www.vote.nyc.ny.us).
Absentee ballots can be cast at local elections boards in person through Monday. Absentee ballots must be postmarked no later than Monday or dropped off no later than 9 p.m. Tuesday.
Polls are open Tuesday from 6 a.m. to 9 pm. Elections will be held for state Legislature, Congress and president, as well as for some local boards.
The Rockland County Board of Elections said that a polling site in New City has been moved. Residents who normally vote at Woodglen Elementary School will vote Tuesday at New City Elementary School.
In Sullivan County, residents who vote at the Forestburgh Town Hall will vote at Forestburgh Fire House.
Good-government groups earlier Monday had called on Cuomo to allow New Yorkers displaced by the storm to cast an affidavit ballot at any polling place in the state.
"This is a straightforward and practical solution to a difficult problem facing too many voters in the wake of Hurricane Sandy's devastation," said Susan Lerner, executive director of Common Cause/NY, in a statement.