Connecticut appeared to be in good shape Sunday night as state officials and local registrars prepared for a full day of voting on Tuesday.
Officials had initially been concerned because Hurricane Sandy ripped through the state, knocking out power to polling places along the shoreline and beyond. But the quick work by utility crews and local officials has prompted a sharp improvement.
“The bottom line is we are in very good shape, compared to where we were a week ago – and compared to New York and New Jersey,” said Av Harris, a spokesman for Secretary of the State Denise Merrill.
In an interview with Capitol Watch, Harris said that about a dozen polling places still had no power as of Saturday night and that state officials will receive a complete update Monday morning on a conference call with town clerks and registrars.
“It looks like there might only need to be two [polling places moved] – one in Bridgeport and one in New London,” Harris said Sunday night.
Another issue is school superintendents who have changed their minds and decided to open schools on Election Day – after originally deciding they would be closed. Since many districts lost days in school because of Hurricane Sandy, some schools will be reopened Tuesday to catch up on the work that was missed. That could cause problems with parking in a high-turnout election when voters show up at a public school and many of the parking spaces are taken up by faculty and staff, Harris said.
“If you’re going to be closed on Election Day, go with the original plan,” Harris said, describing a letter that was sent to school superintendents. “In the morning hours, there are a lot of people who go to vote. We said, ‘Please consider not having school.’ As school administrators, they have schools to run, but they might not have thought about the elections. We have no authority. We asked them to consider that.’’
He added that local officials have made progress after the damage by Hurricane Sandy.
“They’ve been able to prepare pretty well, given the circumstances,” he said. “Everybody has responded extremely well.’’