Storm Preparation Includes Early Voting Contingency

(content below is assembled from communications received from the Governor’s Office)

Governor Martin O’Malley Friday morning signed an Executive Order declaring a State of Emergency for all Maryland counties as the State continues to monitor Hurricane Sandy and its potential impact. The declaration gives the state flexibility to activate the Maryland National Guard and provide assistance to local emergency managers.

A copy of the Executive Order can be found on the Governor’s website.

Depending on how the storm develops, Hurricane Sandy may have an impact on early voting, which is scheduled to take place between Saturday, October 27
and Thursday, November 1.

The Election Law provides that “[i]n the event of a state of emergency, declared by the Governor in accordance with the provisions of law, that interferes with the electoral process, the emergency proclamation may: (1) provide for the postponement, until a specific date, of the election in part or all of the State; (2) specify alternate voting locations; or (3) specify alternate voting systems.” Md. Code Ann., Election Law Article, Sec. 8-103(a).

The Governor’s Office and the Maryland Emergency Management Agency are actively monitoring weather developments in order to determine whether changes to the early voting schedule may be necessary to protect public safety. In the meantime, the State Board of Elections, the local boards, and all early voting locations should continue their preparations for early voting and ensure that all voting sites remain open and that all election staff report for duty.

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The Maryland Emergency Management Agency (MEMA) reminds residents to make plans now to deal with the possible effects of the storm and follow weather forecasts over the next several days to learn more about the possible path of Hurricane Sandy. Activities to prepare include:

– Prepare for possible power outages lasting several hours or even
several days.
– Realize that the daytime temperatures are expected to be about 20
degrees cooler after the storm. If the power goes out, make sure you have
extra blankets and appropriate clothing to deal with cooler temperatures if
you power is out.
– If using a generator, make sure it is not in a basement or garage and
make sure it is located a safe distance from any door, windows or
ventilation systems.
– Make sure cell phones and other electronic devices are fully charged.
Consider purchasing a car charger if you don’t already have one.
– Secure any loose items such as yard furniture and grills outside of
your house.
– Make sure you have a disaster supply kit with water, non-perishable
food, a change of clothes, extra medications and any special items you
might need for infants, children and pets.
– Have a battery-operated or crank powered radio available to follow
news and weather reports if the power goes out.
– Stores may be crowded on Sunday; consider stocking up on essentials a
day or two sooner.
– If you lose power, practice safe food handling. Several web sites can
provide appropriate information.
– If you are driving in or just after heavy rains and you see standing
water, do NOT drive through it. TURN AROUND, DON’T DROWN.

For more preparedness information, please visit the following web sites:

Maryland Emergency Management Agency

ready.gov

hurricanes.gov

Michael Sanderson

Executive Director Maryland Association of Counties

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