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New York Prepares for Elections Amid Sandy Recovery

Margaret Besheer

November 05, 2012

Voting day preparations continued on Monday as did efforts to get New York City back to normal in the aftermath of superstorm Sandy as yet another threatening weather front approaches the region.

New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg reported that nearly all of the city's schools had reopened on Monday and that attendance was normal. The mayor said public transportation also is returning to normal, and he urged residents to use it.

“Things there, I'm happy to report, went relatively smoothly and will almost certainly improve in the days ahead. Mass transit is definitely the way to go, given that gas supplies in our city remain below normal," said Bloomberg.

These subway users agreed with Bloomberg's assessment of their commute.

“Normal, yeah, good, good. Like it was a few weeks ago.”

“It was actually totally fine; I had no trouble at all. The train came right on time. There it was; I got a seat. It was great.”

“It is much better than before because I walked to the bridge on Wednesday and Monday.”

The number of New York City residents without electricity has declined from about three-quarters of a million at the peak of the crisis last week to some 115,000 people.

Mayor Bloomberg said about 200,000 storm-affected residents picked up food, water, blankets, batteries and other essential items on Sunday from city distribution centers. For those whose homes are uninhabitable or destroyed, he said the city is working quickly to locate long-term housing for them.

Meanwhile, New Yorkers are preparing for the U.S. general elections on Tuesday. Polling centers in some areas have been affected by the storm, leading Governor Cuomo to sign an executive order permitting eligible voters to cast their ballots at any polling station in the state.

At the Board of Election headquarters in borough of Brooklyn, Stacey Sheffey says she came to process an absentee ballot for a friend.

“I have a very, very sick friend who is in the hospital and she is not able to get out to vote, so I'm trying to do an absentee ballot. I have an application for her, so that's why I'm standing here today," said Sheffey.

Jeff and his two companions came from one of the hardest hit areas to file their ballots. They say the church where they normally vote has been devastated.

“We are from Rockaway Beach. We wanted to make our vote count, and that's why we are here," said Jeff.

Others, like Cecilia, came to volunteer their time as poll workers.

“I wasn't going to do it this year. But because of the hurricane, I figured they may have the need for extra poll workers, so I figured I'd come down," said Cecilia.

Meteorologists are warning that just beyond Tuesday's vote another potentially serious weather system is heading toward the New York area. Mayor Bloomberg says that Wednesday's expected storm could bring strong winds and more flooding, but not as severe as Sandy's.

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