There's another issue if poll hours are extended in some areas — such as counties with the worst storm damage — and not in others. That could prompt lawsuits under the Constitution's Equal Protection Clause, said Edward Foley, an election law expert at The Ohio State University.
Relocating polling places is also risky because it could drive down turnout, said Neil Malhotra, a political economist at Stanford University's Graduate School of Business. "If you disrupt their routine and the polling place they've always been going to, even if you don't move it very far, they vote less," he said.
Q. What is the federal government doing to help?
A. The Federal Emergency Management Agency's administrator, Craig Fugate, said Monday he anticipated the storm's impact could linger into next week and affect the election. He said FEMA would look at what support it could provide to states before the election. "This will be led by the states," he said.
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