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[UPDATED] At Least 100 Polling Places Without Power, But Elections Continue as Planned

One-seventh of Connecticut's polling places are without electricity leading up to the Nov. 6 election.

 

Hurricane Sandy left at least 100 of the state's 738 polling places without electricity, but Secretary of State Denise Merrill expects ample progress by the time polls open on Election Day.

"I am confident we will have our polling places where they need to be," she said at a press conference at the Capitol at noon on Wednesday.

Merrill said there is no legal way to postpone the election. She's been in talks with Connecticut Light & Power and said that polling places—most of which are in municipal buildings such as schools and town halls—are a priority for the utility companies.

There are 100 polling places in the coverage area of United Illuminating in the New Haven and Bridgeport area, but she said she hasn't received an update from the company.

"We have reached out to them," she said. "We just haven't heard back from them."

As of today, some 65-70 polling locations in the service area covered by Connecticut Light & Power are still without electric power, down from approximately 100 polling locations yesterday. Merrill is also reporting that approximately 25 polling locations in the service area of United Illuminating are still lacking electrical power.

Connecticut was faced with a similar situation in 2011 when a Halloween snowstorm knocked out electricity throughout the state before municipal elections. Merrill said she doesn't think that storm made much of an impact on those elections.

"We had the same dismally low turnout," she said.

Voting

State law forbids an absentee ballot being cast late simply because a voter is stuck at home, Merrill said. Ballots will be available from city and town halls on  Election Day. And though Lyme's town hall hasn't been open since Sandy knocked out power and the town's Emergency Operations Center at Hamburg Fire Station has been without phone service recently too, voters can still pick up absentee ballots and voter registration forms at Hamburg Fire Station between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m.  

This past weekend Gov. Dannel P. Malloy, in anticipation of Hurricane Sandy's disrputive power, extended the voter registration deadline statewide to Nov. 1.

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