Downstate residents displaced by Sandy able to vote at any poll - WBAY

Downstate residents displaced by Sandy able to vote at any poll site

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ALBANY, N.Y. - Governor Andrew Cuomo made sure Monday evening that New Yorkers affected by Hurricane Sandy had their chance to vote on election Tuesday.

There were concerns with all the damage from Hurricane Sandy around the state, that many registered voters may miss their chance to have their vote counted.

"It's one of the precious rights we have as Americans," said Assemblyman Jack McEney.

To avoid losing that right, Governor Cuomo signed an executive order Monday allowing voters displaced by the storm, who are registered in a federally-declared disaster county, to vote using an affidavit ballot at any poll site in New York State.

The executive order also mandates every board of elections in the state to send the affidavit ballot to the board of elections where the voter is actually registered, so that the vote is counted in the correct place.

The vote will count for the office of President and U.S. Senator and for any other candidate and ballot initiative that appears on the official ballot where the voter is registered.

First responders and workers involved in the Hurricane Sandy recovery efforts are also included in the executive order only if they reside in one of the federally-declared disaster counties.

The federally-declared disaster counties include: Bronx, Kings, Nassau, New York, Queens, Richmond, Rockland, Suffolk and Westchester.

Meaning, many first responders from the Capital Region who are serving downstate will not be able to vote unless they filled out an absentee ballot before being deployed.

Cities in need downstate have called on fire fighters from the Capital Region to help with relief efforts. Fire fighters from Niskayuna only had a few hours of notice before they had to pack up and ship out to places like Long Island.

"They already did six calls. He said there are boats in the middle of the street, he said its bad," Fire Chief Sean Muldowney explained.

His fire fighters left early Monday morning; just enough time to miss casting their ballot at their local polling location, but Muldowney says that is the last thing on their minds. "Our main objective is to go down there to help people who don't have heat or are injured," he said.

Anyone with questions about where to vote while helping with Sandy relief efforts can call the special Sandy election help line at 1-855-697-7263.

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