Voter turnout in 2012 was an issue that unnerved many poll watchers, as it was thought that the ongoing Sandy cleanup in the Northeast would potentially create havoc at the polls and depress the overall number of voters who showed up to cast their ballots.
But voter turnout fears for 2012 in Sandy-affected areas may have been a bit premature, as early reports indicate that polls in the region were busy and storm-ravaged voters turned out in force to exercise their civic duty despite the damage that remains in states like New Jersey and New York.
The 2012 voter turnout in New York State may also have been preserved by a last-minute emergency measure pushed forward by Governor Andrew Cuomo, allowing residents to vote by affidavit ballot anywhere in the state. Still, devastation and lingering storm-related issues were not enough to keep voters away from polling places in Sandy’s wake.
Renee Kearney of Point Pleasant Beach, New Jersey spoke to a reporter about her decision to vote in light of the chaos, and Kearney explains that her decision to cast a ballot for Obama was solidified by the disaster:
“It feels extra important today because you have the opportunity to influence the state of things right now, which is a disaster … I was extremely impressed by his response to the storm … For people who were not so certain about him, I think this may have sealed the deal.”
New Jersey Governor Chris Christie also remarked on the high voter turnout in his hard-hit state, saying:
“I’m amazed at how resilient people are. I think there’s tremendous interest in the election here and nationwide.”
Gov. Cuomo said, however, that compared to Sandy, the challenges of holding an election were manageable:
“Compared to what we have had to deal with in the past week, this will be a walk in the park when it comes to voting.”
Was there high voter turnout in 2012 in your area?