Election Countdown 2012: A Quarter of New Jersey and a Tenth of New York Remain In the Dark After Sandy, and More

This week in the Election Countdown: A quarter of New Jersey and a tenth of New York remain in the dark after Sandy; overwhelmed elections officials locked the doors to their Doral headquarters and temporarily shut down the operation in Florida, angering nearly 200 voters standing in line outside; The Des Moines Register’s final poll of the year by Selzer & Co shows Obama ahead by 47 percent to 42 percent among likely Iowa voters; and More.

Mission elapsed time: T + 56 and counting*

Major Danby replied indulgently with a superior smile: “But, Yossarian, suppose everyone felt that way.””Then,” said Yossarian, “I’d certainly be a damned fool to feel any other way, wouldn’t I?” –Joseph Heller, Catch 22

Readers: Yves has asked me to live blog election eve, so I will see those of you who are interested here at around 4:30PM on Tuesday.

More Hurricane Sandy

NJ. Voting: Via email and fax. …. Voting: Via physical ballot (AH). …. Power: Still, a quarter of New Jersey and almost a tenth of New York remained in the dark, the Department of Energy said. … Power: ” By today, NJ’s power losses dropped to 999,927, according to the Energy Department.” … Power gas: ” One gas station in Little Ferry, NJ still without power is now using a gasoline powered generator to pump gasoline in small quantities.” Rather like ethanol, if you think about it. … Class warfare: “The enormity of the crisis in New Jersey has not yet been fully grasped by national media. While shore locales are typically associated with luxury, innumerable working-to-upper middle class homes have also been devastated. At Seaside Heights, the foreboding odor of gas leaks is now ubiquitous. On Wednesday I visited Atlantic City, five miles north of where Sandy made landfall. President Barack Obama and Governor Christie toured the devastation in Brigantine, just across the bay. Many poor, primarily black residents who live in the shadows of the iconic casinos had been scattered – fled to shelters or with relatives – and were not even being allowed back in the city yet. For those who stayed behind, preparing to vote was hardly a consideration. Lives are still at risk. It is now getting very cold, and the elderly are without heat. People cannot fuel their cars to go to work, nevermind drive to the polls. Turnout across New Jersey will almost certainly be low on Tuesday, which would likely favour Mitt Romney. Further, those displaced by the storm are disproportionately low-income people of colour, a crucial D constituency.” … Public good: ” If you are in a Sandy impact zone, call your congressman and senators and let them know how disappointed you are that AT&T and the other telecoms are using their data allowance caps to extort money from you in the absence of landline and wifi accessibility. Tell them that this disaster has taught you that the telecomms who provide cell service are actually public utilities and that they should be regulated like a public utility.” … Solidarity: “‘I know a lot of people not working,’ he said. ‘But the town came together — the people that have power are helping other people charge phones. I think it made Hoboken a better place. On a regular day, everybody sticks to who you know. Now people have extension cords just hanging out their windows. It gives me hope for the world.”

NY. Heat: “‘These are public housing projects where sand and water got into the boilers and electrical systems got destroyed. We don’t have a lot of empty housing in this city so it’s really a problem to find housing,’ Mr Bloomberg said.” I know! Privatize them! … Staten Island: “But when we finally made it to Crescent Beach, the scale of the damage was total.” … Power: “[14] much-needed generators sat idle all day yesterday in a rental company’s New Jersey parking lot after they were moved from the Staten Island staging area of the New York City Marathon — less than two miles from some of superstorm Sandy’s hardest-hit victims” (AH). … Food: “Thousands of New Yorkers affected by Sandy are still without access to food or water–but don’t worry guys, because you’re about to get some chips and soda! Governor Cuomo announced today that Walmart and PepsiCo will be donating snacks, beverages and supplies to New Yorkers in need. So much for Bloomberg’s attempt to banish every trans-fat and sugary drink from the city, they’re about to be brought in by the truckload.” … Solidarity: “‘When are we going to get some f****** help?’ one woman demanded of the billionaire mayor. ‘There’s old ladies in my building that don’t got nothing,’ one furious man told Bloomberg.”

NOTE: Swing states in bold italic, with (poll closing).

CO (9:00pm ET) The Obama: “Thousands of people huddled in the late-night cold Sunday awaiting Obama and acoustic sensation Dave Matthews. Most polls — including a Denver Post poll out Sunday — put Romney and Obama at a statistical tie.” … The Romney: “Romney, who spoke earlier in the day in Colorado Springs, positioned himself as a practical problem-solver, someone who would work with both parties to find solutions. ‘I won’t just represent one party,’ Romney said. ‘I’ll represent one nation.’” Among those who have already voted, Obama leads 49% to 46%, and he leads 45% to 42% among those who say they will vote before Tuesday. Only with Election Day voters — 18 percent of respondents — does Romney lead, 47% to 42%.” … Mass incarceration: “Three days ago, CO shut down a brand-new prison it didn’t need. Unless the state government finds someone else who can use it, CO taxpayers can expect to spend $208 million for an empty building. The legislature [had] resorted to a financing method called “certificates of participation.” Rather than borrow money to build its own prison, the state sold certificates to investors, becoming the operator of a prison owned by a multitude of lenders.”

FL (7:00pm ET for eastern part of state; 8pm ET for the west). … Voting: “Elections officials, overwhelmed with voters, locked the doors to their Doral headquarters and temporarily shut down the operation, angering nearly 200 voters standing in line outside — only to resume the proceedings an hour later. ‘This is America, not a third-world country,’ said Myrna Peralta, who waited in line with her 4-year-old grandson for nearly two hours before the doors closed. “They should have been prepared.’” … Voting: “But the law [that reduced the number of early voting days from 14 to eight and eliminated early voting on the Sunday before the election] includes a loophole: Election offices are allowed to be open for voters to drop off absentee ballots. On Sunday morning, officials in Miami-Dade and Palm Beach counties announced that in addition to accepting absentee ballots, their main election offices would be open all day to print out absentee ballots for voters who had not already requested them.” … Voting: “Five things that could go wrong on Election Day in FL: Long ballots, provisional ballots, absentee ballots, challenges, confusion” (explainer).

IA (10:00pm ET) Polls: “The Des Moines Register’s final poll of the year by Selzer & Co shows Obama ahead by 47% to 42% among likely IA voters. Meanwhile, Project New America and USA Action released a new Iowa poll conducted by Grove Insight on November 1 and 2, which found Obama leading Romney 47% to 44%.”

OH. Ground war: “The Obama operation established itself here by 2008, winning Ohio and, to the shock of local leaders in the county that surrounds this city, Hamilton, which had long favored Republican presidential candidates. Then it never left.”

NC. Voting: “Officials say a new problem this year is people showing up at polling places and thinking they have the right to walk right in and inspect things. In some states, ordinary citizens do actually have that ability, but in most — including NC — there are strict limits regarding observers and pre-approval is required.” Out of curiosity, is open carry permitted at the polls?

NH (7:00pm ET for most of state; 8pm ET for a few bigger cities) Polls: “Most recent polls give Obama a slight edge over Romney in NH, but within the margin of error.”

NV (10:00pm ET) Prediction: “It would be very difficult for Obama to lose Nevada, especially because I think more than two-thirds of the vote is in, so whatever turnout advantage the GOP has on Tuesday won’t be enough. Obama, 50%; Romney, 46%; others and ‘none of the above,’ 4 percent.”

OH (7:30pm ET). Voting: “[T]he state’s leading newspapers have all reported on various potential electoral controversies, and many have zeroed in on what is likely to be one of the most critical concerns for both camps–the counting of provisional and absentee ballots” (excellent survey). … Voting: “‘If we encounter outages, we have portable generators we could deploy to a limited number of locations and also have flashlight supplies on hand to help deal with that situation,’ said Jane Platten, director of the Cuyahoga County Board of Elections. ‘At this point, we are encouraged by reports from the utility companies that they hope all [Hurricane Sandy] outages will be restored by the end of Monday.’”

PA. Power: “With so many residents still off the grid and overnight temperatures dipping into the 20s, Montgomery County officials declared a ‘code blue’ cold-weather warning, scheduled to continue through noon Monday. Lower Merion, one of the county’s hardest-hit townships, set up ‘warming stations’ at local firehouses and libraries to provide residents with a place to warm up, get a cup of coffee and other nourishment, recharge electronic equipment such as cellphones and laptops, and just have an opportunity to get outside and away from home for a bit” (PT). … The Rpmney: “Romney drew a crowd of 30,000 at a rally Sunday evening, as supporters from both sides of the Delaware River converged on a suburban Philadelphia farm. People waited for hours to get into the rally in a stiff wind and temperatures falling through the 40s, sending a message of support in this red corner of the state.” Impressive, but what the heck is Romney doing there? “Little early voting”?

VA (7:00pm ET). Voting: “Friday a coalition of voter advocates lodged a formal complaint about the guidance [True the Vote] has offered [through its manual for poll watchers]. One they pinpoint is a section on when polls close advising that people who vote after polls close should cast a provisional ballot that’s kept separate from other votes. The manual also notes that VA law allows anyone in line by the time polls close to vote. That’s a conflicting message that could cause problems at the polls, according to some who signed the letter. Another complaint is that the wording in the manual on voter identification laws is imprecise, given changes VA made to its law this year.”

WA. Gay marriage: Obama Robocall Urging Support for Love Desegregation. Policy: “Leave it up to the states.”

WI (9:00pm ET) Voting: “The hundreds of thousands of people who vote by absentee ballots in Wisconsin might not realize mail-in ballots are probably the least reliable way to ensure a vote is counted, said Barry Burden, a UW-Madison political science professor.” … Voting: “Wisconsin is a ‘same-day registration state,’ meaning it’s easy to vote at the last minute so the Democrats hope the Boss will help them rouse people to the ballot boxes. ‘The general belief is that voters who move around a lot or students are going to lean Democratic and they’re going to register on Election Day,” said Burden” (Burden’s in everyone’s Rolodex!)

Outside baseball. Polarization: “‘[P]olarization has grown because Ds and Rs are representing moderate districts in increasingly extreme ways.’ We can add that this appears to be true in all the other districts, too” (charts). … Oil: “Crude shipments are now the fastest-growing product for several big U.S. and Canadian Class 1 railroads after oil output expanded more quickly than pipeline capacity.” … Freedom: “Freedom exists only if we are prepared to do things which are not in our material interest.” … Hurricane Sandy: “If Google is doing the best job of collecting and presenting the data citizens need during — and after — a natural disaster, then, unless news organizations can match it, they should be doing their best to share and promote Google’s map.”

Grand Bargain™-brand Catfood Watch. “Fever”: “Biden said that if President Obama is re-elected, the R ‘fever’ will break and some level of bipartisanship would return to Washington.” Just in time for the Grand Bargain! How convenient.

The trail. Polls: “President Obama heads into election day with a narrow lead in two carefully watched national polls, with the Pew Research Center projecting a 50% to 47% margin for the president over Romney and the NBC/Wall St. Journal poll finding him ahead 48% to 47%.” … Polls: “As of this writing, on Sunday evening, Obama led by an average of 1.3 percentage points across 12 national polls that had been published over the course of the prior 24 hours. On Saturday, we wrote that state polls would have to be statistically biased against Mr. Romney for him to win the Electoral College. Now, it may be the case that the national polls would have to be biased against him as well’” (Nate Silver). … Swing counties: “Of the 18 stops that Obama and/or Biden will make, eight are in counties that went for Bush in 2004 and Obama in 2008. These are the swing counties like Arapahoe and Jefferson in CO, Hamilton in OH and Loudon in VA. The other ten stops are in traditionally solid D areas where Team Obama needs strong base turnout, such as Fairfax County, VA which gave Obama 60 percent of the vote in 2008 and Dane County, WI which gave Obama a whopping 73 percent of the vote. This tells us that Obama is focused on securing the gains they made in 2008 in key swing, suburban areas, but they are also concerned about pumping up the D base. Team Romney is targeting some of those same swing suburban areas as Team Obama, but they are also spending a lot of time in D counties like Franklin and Cuyahoga in OH, Polk in IA and Milwaukee in WI. Another ten stops are in solid R territory like El Paso County, Colorado (Colorado Springs) and Bay County, Florida (Panama City). Overall, the Romney/Ryan schedule suggests that they are more focused on wooing independent voters than simply firing up the base.” … LOTE voting; “Strategic Voting was still being debated among the far left when Obama’s senior campaign adviser and former press secretary, Robert Gibbs, said a 16 year old American citizen who was blasted to bits by a US drone while he sat around a campfire with his cousins should have had a better father. … Discourse: “DOWD: …Every time you feel a losing campaign, these three things happen. [1] don’t believe — the public polls are wrong. [2] we’re going to change the nature of the electorate, and you’re not seeing it reflected in the polls. [3] the only poll that counts is Election Day. When you hear those things, you know you’re about to lose.” … Voting: Handy election eve timeline, with poll closing. Pass the popcorn! … Voting: Timeline with paths to victory. Keen graphic!

The Obama. Incentives: “TV executives believe the First Lady would be a natural to become a talk show host. She has even been compared to Oprah Winfrey.” … Nooners: “Whatever happens, Obama will not own the room again as once he did. If he wins, we will see a different presidency–even more stasis, and political struggle–but not a different president. ”

* Slogan of the day: In Following the Middle of The Road, Strive for an Even Greater Victory!