On Monday, Politico’s Roger Simon tweeted that White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said he was unsure if President Obama has the power to delay November’s election if power is still out due to Hurricane Sandy.
“On AF1, Carney is asked if power is still out on Election Day, whether Obama has power to delay the election. ‘I don’t know,’ he says,” Simon tweeted.
On Monday, President Obama addressed the storm and said the election would “take care of itself.”
“I’m not worried, at this point, about the impact on the election,” the President said. “I’m worried about the impact on families. I’m worried about the impact on our first responders. I’m worried about the impact on our economy and on transportation. The election will take care of itself next week.”
Nevertheless, some wonder if the storm will be used as an excuse to move or delay the election.
“Is there any precedent for doing something such as postponing a national election?” asked MSNBC’s Andrea Mitchell, concerned that power outages would prevent voters from casting their ballots.
“Well, look, elections are run by state and local officials,” Chuck Todd responded. “The federal government does not run the elections as it is. Look, there is some precedence to this. During 9/11, on 9/11, was the New York City mayoral race and they delayed everything,” he added.
Rush Limbaugh said, however, that the Constitution does not give Obama the power to move or delay federal elections, but wondered if the Constitution would “stop a statist like Obama.” Limbaugh cited the mayoral race Todd spoke of, but said that was a local election provided for by local statutes.
Todd said that a “more likely scenario” would be the use of provisional ballots in the areas affected by the storm.
“You don’t postpone the day itself, but maybe you expand the types of ballots, maybe you’re more lenient on checking people in, but forcing provisional votes so it’s going to take longer to verify the voters and all of those things,” he said.
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