Frankenstorm’s Political Effects

As you certainly know, for the first time in history, a tropical storm is going to collide with something very cold causing a hurricane to come ashore, a nor'easter to form and hit, and then there will be snow. Normally we're thinking about snow and rain for election day issues, and hurricanes for the conventions. It's a little mind boggling.

The map is a general one, and certainly subject to change. Some other projected forecasts track a little further south into Virginia and West Virginia, and further WSW into Ohio. Remember that no matter the exact track, Sandy is 700 miles across, and expected to grow. That's a lot of real estate.

The political consequences can be serious. In places like Virginia and Ohio where there are early voting, there can certainly be disruption. Depending on how much snow falls, and how high the winds are, in both states there can be effects to election day.

Here in Pennsylvania, we're expecting major power outages and flooding in the eastern part of the state and snow in the west. While we are a one voting day only state, we are facing impacts. First, this weekend, we may need to pull our canvassers back tomorrow night if the storm speeds up. You don't send canvassers out when trees are falling across the roads, and the wind is 40 mph. Further, a lot of GOTV volunteers need time to batten down the hatches, clear patios, decks, and other places from which projectiles can launch, and prepare for power outages that could theoretically last a week. Both canvassing and phone banking this week will be affected: it's unlikely anyone in Eastern Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland, or the SES parts of New York will be going out, or even calling Monday to Wednesday. No power, no phones, no ability to enter data. 

The campaigns are all affected in terms of where they will be holding prescheduled events.  This is true not only about cancelled Virginia events for both the Obama and Romney campaigns, but also state and local candidates. Last night, Philadelphia issued mandatory evacuation orders for people in low-lying areas for 2 pm Sunday. I've lived here a long time, and this is the first Philadelphia evacuation I can remember.

There are a lot of people not taking Sandy seriously. A co-worker told me that she was leaving early yesterday to go down the shore (NJ for those of you who aren't local) to attend a wedding ON SUNDAY. Some people with whom I work on GOTV have said I shouldn't worry about having canvassers out on Sunday, they'll be fine. 

And there you have it. Personally, I'm off to the store for batteries and candles, then back to clear potential projectiles, and then 12 hours of GOTV activities. 

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