News / USA

New York Prepares for Elections Amid Sandy Recovery

Commuters disembark Staten Island Ferry one week after Superstorm Sandy crashed into the metropolitan area, New York, Nov. 5, 2012.
Commuters disembark Staten Island Ferry one week after Superstorm Sandy crashed into the metropolitan area, New York, Nov. 5, 2012.
Margaret Besheer
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.

Story continues below.
  • Dave Skudin empties his home of household items that were destroyed by flooding from Superstorm Sandy on Nov 1, 2012, in Long Beach, N.Y.
  • Tricia Burke walks over debris which washed up onto her property in the wake of superstorm Sandy, Nov. 1, 2012, in Brick, N.J.
  • As temperatures begin to drop, people wait in line to fill containers with gas at a Shell gasoline filling station Nov. 1, 2012, in Keyport, N.J.
  • Tunisia Wragg, left, a staff member with New York Assemblyman Sheldon Silver, checks a cell phone at a charging station in Chinatown, NY, Nov 1, 2012.
  • Morning commuters walk and bicycle across New York's Brooklyn Bridge, Oct. 31, 2012.
  • Water gushes from a hose as it is pumped out of a basement in New York's financial district, Oct. 31, 2012.
  • People line up at a coffee truck in New York's financial district, Oct. 31, 2012 ahead of the first opening for Wall Street this week following a two-day shutdown due to superstorm Sandy.
  • Members of the National Guard stand ready with large trucks used to pluck people from high water in Hoboken, N.J. , Oct. 31, 2012 in the wake of superstorm Sandy.
  • People in New York's Tribeca neighborhood, without power because of superstorm Sandy, wait for a chance to charge their mobile phones on an available generator setup on a sidewalk, Tuesday, Oct. 30, 2012.
  • Kathy and Jeffrey Frey pose for a photograph outside their home on 7th Street which is flooded from the effects of Hurricane Sandy on Oct., 30, 2012, in Bayville, N.Y.
  • A canoe sits in the lobby of an apartment building in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy in Sheepshead Bay, Brooklyn, New York, October 30, 2012.
  • This photo provided by the Metropolitan Transportation Authority shows the South Ferry subway station after it was flooded by seawater during superstorm Sandy on Oct. 30, 2012.
  • Pedestrians walk past the boardwalk and cars displaced by superstorm Sandy, near Rockaway Beach in the New York City borough of Queens, Oct. 30, 2012, in New York.
  • Residents look over the remains of burned homes in the Rockaways section of New York, October 30, 2012.
  • A beachfront house is damaged in the aftermath of yesterday's surge from superstorm Sandy, Oct. 30, 2012, in Coney Island's Sea Gate community in New York.
  • Peter Andrews removes belongings from his father's beachfront home, destroyed in the aftermath of a storm surge from superstorm Sandy, Oct. 30, 2012, in Coney Island's Sea Gate community in New York.
  • Taxis are submerged in floodwaters in the wake of superstorm Sandy on Oct. 30, 2012, in Weehawken, N.J.
  • People stand next to a house collapsed from superstorm Sandy in East Haven, Conn. on Oct. 30, 2012.
  • Christopher Hannafin, of South Kingstown, R.I., enters a friend's cottage through a window to salvage belongings from the structure destroyed by Superstorm Sandy, on Roy Carpenter's Beach, in the village of Matunuck, in South Kingstown, Oct. 30, 2012.
  • Zoe Jurusik, 20, paddleboards down a flooded city street in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy in Bethany Beach, Delaware, October 30, 2012.
  • This photo provided by Metropolitan Transportation Authority shows people boarding a bus, as partial bus service was restored on Oct. 30, 2012.
  • Jeff Willard lights a candle in his living room as his girlfriend, Diana Conte, back left, and her son, Ricky, wait for electricity to return in Ventnor City, N.J., Oct. 30, 2012.
  • People stop along the Brooklyn waterfront to look at the Brooklyn Bridge and the Manhattan skyline, Oct. 30, 2012 in New York.
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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