by Brenden Dougherty
The October surprise for the 2012 election cycle turned out not to be a terrorist attack or an extramarital affair, but rather a devastating super-storm that flooded portions of New York City and cut out power to millions of customers. Many wondered if the damage to the city would cripple efforts to get voters to the polls on Election Day. However, the League of Women Voters of New York City refused to surrender to the destruction.
The League of Women Voters of the City of New York is an organization whose goal is to inform citizens about election matters and encourage citizens to vote. On November 6, 2012, the organization pursued this mission with incredible vigor by assisting those voters affected by Hurricane Sandy. Members set up a telephone hotline days before the election to answer questions from voters about whether their polling places would be open despite the damage from the floodwaters. On the day prior to the election, league members answered more than 200 calls, and when the big day finally came, the League of Women Voters kept their phone hotline open from 8 in the morning until 9 at night. Indeed, the organization was intent on ensuring that every resident in the city knew where to vote and how to get there, with particular emphasis on those without access to the Internet and those who were unable to withstand the heavy call volume coming into the Department of Elections. As the League’s President Ashton Stewart on Election Day, “Our people power is minimal, but we’ve been keeping our four phone lines engaged all day, just letting people know where their nearest poll site is.” Once the votes had been cast, the league’s work continued, with members traveling to polling locations to report the numbers to the Associated Press. Continue reading