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Power Losses Could Trigger Backup Voting Plans

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File photo of a man setting up a voting booth. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

File photo of a man setting up a voting booth. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) — The prospect of lengthy power outages from Sandy in Pennsylvania could require elections officials to use backup plans for electronic voting machines.

Gov. Tom Corbett said Monday it was a potential problem he was keeping an eye on. He said he hopes that by Election Day on Nov. 6 that most parts of the state will have electrical power. Pennsylvania doesn’t have early voting.

“We are watching,” Corbett said. “We are cognizant of it.”

Department of State spokesman Ron Ruman said the machines typically carry six-hour backup batteries, so if power is not available at polling places voters may encounter longer lines because officials will have to limit the number of machines in use in order to have working machines throughout the period the polls are open.

Counties are encouraged to keep enough paper ballots in stock to serve 20 percent to 25 percent of registered voters, he said.

Restoration of power to polling places is high on the list of priorities for utility companies and local emergency planners, and polling places can be moved if the outages are spotty, rather than widespread, Ruman said. Portable generators also may be used, he said.

“We would be able to keep the polls going all day,” Ruman said.

Voters go to the polls next Tuesday to choose a president, U.S. senator, state attorney general and state lawmakers.

(© Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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