As reported in the Washington Post, election officials from Maryland, Virginia, and the District of Columbia are gathering into a regional task force to address elections issues that arise during emergencies and natural disasters. The task force, assembled by the National Association of Secretaries of State, is expected to release guidelines early next year on how best to respond to emergencies.
The task force is coming in the wake of Hurricane Sandy, which caused major issues for elections in the northeast states. As described in the Post,
Though the Washington area was spared the worst of Sandy, the storm served as a wake-up call for vote counters from the Mid-Atlantic to New England.
“We’ve been through earthquakes here, we’ve been through storms . . . but what happened in New Jersey” was on a different scale, said Donald Palmer, secretary of the Virginia State Board of Elections.
Linda Lamone, Maryland’s Board of Elections Administrator also provided a reminder of the different types of emergencies that might affect an election, citing the Washington D.C. sniper attacks that just preceded elections in 2002, but could have caused problems at the polls.
“I think everybody realized it’s not just a storm that we have to worry about,” Lamone said. “There are other things we need to plan for.”
For more information, see the full coverage from the Post.