US poll can't be postponed, despite Sandy havoc

Last Updated: Thu, Nov 01, 2012 05:57 hrs

Washington: Next Tuesday's US presidential election apparently cannot be postponed despite the havoc caused by Hurricane Sandy that has flooded towns and cities up and down US East Coast and left millions without power.

The election for president cannot be moved to a later date without passage of a new federal law as an 1845 law set the Tuesday immediately following the first Monday in November of every election year as Election Day across the country.

But, partial postponements of voting in some affected areas are possible, consistent with the laws governing the election of the president and vice president, CNN said citing a 2004 Congressional Research Service report.

When people go to the polls on Election Day, they aren't voting directly for their choice for president or vice president. Instead, they are voting to select representatives-or "electors"-to the Electoral College that actually chooses the nation's top two.

The 1845 law also gives states some leeway in picking electors to the Electoral College. But to exercise that leeway, a state must have "held an election for the purpose of choosing electors," and "failed to make a choice on the day prescribed by law," CNN said.

When that happens, the law says "the electors may be appointed on a subsequent day in such manner as the legislature of such state may direct."

Based on this, the CRS concluded that a state could probably hold presidential voting on Election Day in places unaffected by a natural disaster but postpone it until a later date in affected areas without violating federal law.

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