Jeana's World of Law

Jeana's World of Law

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Hurricane Sandy's Effect on the Elections

New York City Mayor, Michael Bloomberg - a political independent, announced that he was endorsing President Obama, specifically because of Hurricane Sandy. Sandy literally helped him make up his mind between two presidential candidates that he before pretty much equally criticized. Skeptics are now wondering how Sandy will reshape the opinion of other votes and affect the outcome of the 2012 presidential election.

Hurricane Sandy not only caused the city of New York, and United States overall, billions of dollars in damages, but also took several lives. Bloomberg said he had decided over the past days that Obama is the best candidate to tackle the global climate change, which he believes contributed to the violent storm.

Bloomberg’s announcement is just one example of how Sandy may influence the 2012 presidential elections. The hurricane, and the damage it caused, has not only taken over the news coverage, but prompted both Obama and Romney, albeit only for four days, to stop campaigning. 

Romney may be experiencing negative feedback due to the hurricane, as he is being interrogated regarding a statement he made in 2011 about using federal funds for disaster relief. Romney had said to CNN's John King that if elected, he would give the states a larger share of the federal government’s role in disaster response. So would he demolish FEMA? Now he is saying no, but regardless, this topic will be fresh on the mind of many voters when they reach the ballot box. At the same time, Obama is hand-in-hand with Governor Christie, visiting the most damaged areas, stating that the government is in for the "long haul". And lets not forget the whole climate change issue and how it was avoided in all three debates.

When it comes to climate change, Obama is a firm believer. His administration issued the first carbon dioxide reduction requirements for both vehicles and new power plants, as well as supports cap-and-trade. Obama supports tax initiatives and subsidies for projects throughout the country regarding wind and solar San Diego to New York City. The climate science, however, does not convince Romney, who disagrees that CO2 is harmful to the environment and health. He opposes cap-and-trade and any sort of tax on carbon. Romney has said that he would amend the US Clean Air Act in order to reduce the Environmental Protection Agency's power in reducing carbon pollution.

Candidates aside, Sandy is affecting other election-related things as well. Polling places could face complications if they are still experiencing power outages, as no power for electronic voting machines combined with a lack of paper ballots could cause disorder. If a polling place is damaged, and relocation is necessary, there isn't much time left to do so.

If voters are still stuck on Tuesday, they may be unable to get to a polling place due to blocked roads and may be unable to mail in an absentee ballot in time to meet the deadline. Several states, in hope to accommodate affected voters, have pushed back voter registration deadlines and announced extend voting hours.

However, from now until election day, neither candidate can ignore what happened thanks to Sandy since many of the victims are still feeling the effects of the damage caused. 

No one can really ever say if Sandy will sway votes, with the exception of publicly made endorsements of course. Either way - no matter the outcome of of Tuesday's election - it will be interesting to see if climate change will becomes a topic that the next POTUS will focus on.

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