Q. Other than rescheduling the election, can anything else be done?
A. Voting hours could be extended at various locations. In places where electronic voting machines are in use, paper ballots could be used instead. Some areas also might choose to move polling locations if existing ones are damaged, inaccessible or won't have power on Election Day.
Q. Would those options create any other problems?
A. Lots. If poll hours are extended, under a 2002 law passed by Congress in response to the disputed 2000 presidential election, any voters who show up outside of regular hours must use provisional ballots, which are counted later and could be challenged. Sandy's impact was felt in some of the most competitive states in the presidential race, including Virginia and Ohio. The more provisional ballots that are cast, the greater the chances are that the winner won't be known until days or even weeks after the election.
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.
Reach Josh Lederman on Twitter at http://twitter.com/joshledermanAP