Tuesday, November 06, 2012

Sandy Mucks Up Michiganian Absentee Attempts

Superstorm Sandy affecting Michigan voting; some to miss out because of late ballots

Superstorm Sandy caused so much disruption on the East Coast that New Jersey officials allowed displaced residents to vote by e-mail in today's election.

What could possibly go wrong? On the upside, New Jersey is a blue state lock in any case, so they just need to reduce the totals to the number of actual registered living voters and it might turn out a wash.

But that's not all the disruptions and there's now a few Michiganians suffering votus interruptus:

But the storm also disrupted the absentee voting plans for a few Michigan residents visiting the area affected by the Oct. 29 storm that caused widespread flooding and power outages.

Not a lot of sympathy. if you were planning to be out of town, you could have already received your absentee ballot, had it sent to your home address for forwarding or made some other arrangement. It's not like no one warned that Sandy was coming to visit.

On the other hand, I can understand and sympathize with the problem faced by Richard Bernstein:

Pummeled first by a bicycle on a New York City sidewalk in August and then by Sandy, blind Oakland County attorney Richard Bernstein, 38, said Monday he's afraid he won't get to vote today for the first time since he turned 18.

Michigan Secretary of State officials said Bernstein is out of luck after the storm delayed delivery of his absentee ballot to a New York hotel, where he is recuperating from the smashed pelvis he suffered when a fast-moving cyclist struck him from behind in Central Park.

Bernstein spent nearly 10 weeks in Mt. Sinai Medical Center in Manhattan as a result of his injuries before moving to the hotel Oct. 26 to continue his rehabilitation as an outpatient.

He said he applied for his absentee ballot the same day he got a fixed address, and Birmingham City Clerk Laura Broski said Monday that her office mailed the ballot to his hotel Oct. 30.

Bernstein's ballot still hadn't arrived Monday and officials with the Michigan Secretary of State are "basically saying I don't get to vote," Bernstein said. "I don't think that's really fair."

Of course, he probably should have had it delivered to his Michigan address back before the storm and brought up by family when they came to visit him - or he could likely have had it mailed to him at the hospital or sent via Fedex by his family to the Hospital. He's a smart guy and unfortunately didn't anticipate Sandy slowing down the arrival of his ballot.

I'm sure he had a lot more going on considering he's recovering over the past 10 weeks and I'd bet he didn't really think about getting an absentee ballot while he was laid up.

And in another interesting example, for which I have no sympathy:

Sharon Lipton of Waterford said she was going to deliver absentee ballots to her daughters Sara and Andrea, who are staying in New York, but she was unable to travel there because of the storm.

She instead filled out their ballots for them according to their instructions and signed as having assisted them to vote. But officials in Waterford told her that the ballots won't be counted.

"I am going to pursue this," Lipton said Monday.

Good luck with that. Again Proper Planning Prevents Poor or in this case missed Performance. Fedex is your friend. So no, you can't fill out other people's ballots for them as that is one heckuva bad precedent to set regardless of for whom you might be casting those ballots.

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