General Question

jca's avatar

If people can't get gas, or have to wait in lines for hours to get gas, do you think they'll be voting on Tuesday?

Asked by jca (35972points) November 2nd, 2012

All over the tri-state area (meaning NY, NJ, CT), there are incredibly long lines to get gasoline. It’s on the news, price gouging, people waiting hours to get gas, people running out of gas before they get to the pumps. The problem is made worse by people needing gas for their generators.

In the area I’m from, which I have not been to since the storm, I hear stories and see pictures on FB that people are posting about waiting hours for gas, people can’t get to work or get home from work, people running out of gas before they get gas, gas being $5.99 a gallon, people coming from NJ across the river to Westchester to get gas, desperate.

I heard that the refineries are experiencing difficulties because of the destruction in NJ.

How are people going to vote on Tuesday with this going on?

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34 Answers

Buttonstc's avatar

Aren’t all polling places very local; many within walking distance? Or at the least, in NYC within an easy bus ride.

tedd's avatar

I think some will turn away. But it really won’t matter. The states effected are all securely in Obama’s pocket. The large metropolitan areas like New York have polling places within walking distance. And really, things aren’t as bad when you get away from the heart of the damage where the storm first hit.

Seek's avatar

When I lived in NYC, the polling place was literally less a block from my house, and I lived in one of the less densely populated parts of Staten Island. Ah, memories. I got to trip the switch the year my daddy voted for Dukakis. Sigh.

(by the way, if there are any SI Jellies close to Tottenville, I’d love to know if my old house is still standing. I have a pipe dream of buying that house someday)

tedd's avatar

@Seek_Kolinahr Think of it like this, if it’s not standing anymore, you can probably afford to buy it right now!

fremen_warrior's avatar

Read this and quit your bi*ching. That article is months old btw. and prices have risen accordingly.

How are people going to vote… well off the top of my head: how about they walk?

Seek's avatar

@tedd That would make me incredibly sad. My old house was a dentist’s office in the 1800s. It would be a crime against history for it to be gone! Oh, gods! THE CONFERENCE HOUSE! The Conference House needs to be ok! SOMEONE TELL ME!

bolwerk's avatar

Probably fewer people will vote, but at least the NYC Tri-State area is one of the most walkable areas of the country. As far as the presidential election is concerned, they probably tend to vote Democrat as a bloc anyway.

Perhaps the inability to drive to polling places is not too much of a problem, since drivers presumably tend to be more reactionary than people who walk to their polling place anyway.

marinelife's avatar

I think that people will make every effort to vote. Because of the disaster.

jca's avatar

Yes, in NYC, people are within walking distance. However, outside of NYC, wakling to a voting booth is not always practical. Where I live, in a rural area about an hour north of NYC, my voting spot is about 15 minutes by car on narrow country roads. One would risk their life trying to walk to my voting spot, and if someone had a baby carriage or small children, it’s really not practical. Connecticut, New Jersey would be the same thing – not everyone lives in a crowded urban area.

The Tri-State area consists of more than just New York City.

bolwerk's avatar

@jca: no shit. It also consists of more than car-dependent troglodytes. Places like Jersey City, Hoboken, Newark, and Yonkers are still pretty walkable.

SpatzieLover's avatar

@bolwerk Have you seen Hoboken on TV, it doesn’t look walkable to be…At least half of it didn’t anyway.

@jca I am concerned about the same thing. I thought by now there would be some announcement of how this would be handled for outlying areas.

Heck, people trying to get to work in Manhattan had trouble getting in. If people are sleeping in lines for gas, I don’t see how this’ll be handled in an appropriate manner by Tuesday.

bolwerk's avatar

@SpatzieLover: I don’t watch TV, but I am a fairly frequent visitor to Hoboken. The area near the waterfront, light rail, and PATH are all pretty damn walkable.

FWIW, probably anywhere from a quarter to a half of NYC is pretty unwalkable too, geographically speaking. But the population density is greater in the more walkable places. And reactionary urban planners are doing their best to contribute to that problem, even in the face of climate change. :|

janbb's avatar

many, many of us in the tri-state area have to drive to the polls. I even question whether my polling place will have power. I will definitely vote if at all possible but do think that many won’t be able to. Hopefully, the most informed and motivated will find a way.

SpatzieLover's avatar

@bolwerk Hoboken (<—article) From what I heard on TV last night, the Mayor is concerned that people still need to be evacuated by the National Guard.

I agree @janbb. However, if it’s not walkable & there’s no gas I’m not sure how that will happen unless they drive in polls.

janbb's avatar

@SpatzieLover Agree. Possibly postponing the election a week would be better. But I know we all want it over!

bolwerk's avatar

@SpatzieLover: yes, I have friends there who can’t get home. One likely had her building destroyed. It’s definitely not walkable right now, if that’s what you mean. It’s normally pretty walkable, however. Much of it sits at a low elevation.

bkcunningham's avatar

It will be interesting to see how many turn out for the NYC Marathon.

Buttonstc's avatar


Excellent point. I was thinking the same thing when I heard of their decision on the news.

Even in the best of years, it paralyzes huge chunks of the city for hours at a time and garners enough complaints as is.

And isn’t NYC screwed up enough with all the post-storm damage?

Let’s snarl up traffic hopelessly for an event going through all boroughs? Wouldn’t that be fun?

Would it really do any harm to postpone it for a couple of weeks? Yeesh.

Only in New York…


janbb's avatar

@Buttonstc I heard a piece about this on NPR. Apparently, there is much less traffic in the city right now. I don’t have a dog in this fight, however, and can see your point.

Buttonstc's avatar

Since I no longer live in NY, I don’t have a dog in the fight either. But I’m sure glad I’m not currently a New Yorker.

janbb's avatar

Being a Jersey girl ain’t so great right now either!

Buttonstc's avatar

Believe me, you have my sympathies.

I was so shocked and dismayed to see the footage of Seaside Heights.

For years I used to go to an annual convention there and I loved their boardwalk. The genuine old timey carousel was wonderful (and I wonder if it survived since it was indoors) and I loved riding the lift chairs which went the entire length of the boardwalk.

Many people nowadays associate it with the stupid TV show, but it really is a lovely little town (completely apart from the moronic cast).

jca's avatar

@bolwerk: I am not talking about what’s “normally” the case. I am talking about now, after the Hurricane. I have Hoboken friends who are not currently staying in Hoboken due to the flooding. I have friends in Westchester who cannot get gas at all. I see photos on FB of drivers waiting in line for a mile or more to get gas. I see photos on FB that friends posted of people from NJ who came over the Tappan Zee and are paying an extra $5 for the bridge, just to get gas. I have a friend who lives one and a half hours north of NYC (where you definitely need a car to get anywhere because there are no sidewalks at all – totally rural) who told me her local gas stations are out of gas and she’s not going out this weekend to save her gas for work Monday. One of the largest and richest counties in NY, Westchester, has currently grounded its fleet of vehicles because of the gas situation. With Election Day only 4 days away, I don’t see this being rectified any time soon.

bkcunningham's avatar

These photos speak volumes.

SpatzieLover's avatar

Storm States Might Vote NOV 6th Had a Jersey FB friend tell me she thought this was already made official

SpatzieLover's avatar

CNN update: NY marathon will not take place.

serenityNOW's avatar

@Buttonstc – I’m on LI, but we used to vacation at Seaside for a week or two, during the summer, until I was 16. The boardwalk, the games:
Heck, you could win Nintendo cartridges.Fresh lemonade, Philly cheese-steaks. Taffy.
I looked at some pictures, and the devastation is just awful.
Anyway, where I live, it’s about a mile away. As a brisk walk, I’d be there in 15 minutes. And yes, I will vote, and I think others will too, granted they can find a way to get there. Maybe I’m foolish, but I consider voting a civil duty, and maybe others do as well.

Linda_Owl's avatar

If the people who were impacted by the storm can find a way to vote, they may try to vote. However, if they have to make too much of an effort, they may decide to fore-go voting. I really can’t see the election being postponed – both political parties would be up-in-arms at the idea. The people impacted by the storm must put their survival first, & now there is another storm brewing that may strike the same area.

bolwerk's avatar

@jca: Yeah, and I was responding to @SpatzieLover, who was either saying Hoboken isn’t typically walkable (not true) or isn’t walkable because the storm (maybe true). I’m not sure what all that stuff about gas has to do with anything I said.

lillycoyote's avatar

It certainly may have an effect on turnout. However, and I don’t know how it is anywhere else, but my polling place is well within walking distance of my house, at least. And the polls are open past the time people would already be home from work. If people want to vote and believe they should vote, they will find a way. People who don’t think voting matters probably won’t.

And people who have bigger issues than merely not being able to get gas, may pass on voting this election. If you’ve lost a family member, or someone has been injured, and that isn’t too many people, thank god, or or your house or your business burned down or has flooded or been destroyed, the election might be at the top of your priorities. I get that.

I just wonder how states are handling the power issue. I don’t know how people are going to vote, even if they want to, and can get there, if their designated polling place doesn’t have any electricity. And if people had to evacuate and cannot get to their polling stations, I don’t know what they are going to do.

bolwerk's avatar

@lillycoyote: probably will bring generators at polling places, and it seems electricity is being restored at a fairly good clip now. Not sure it’s a huge deal.

Getting people to the polling places is probably the bigger “problem,” though if it discourages people from driving to vote for Schitt Romney more than it discourages anti-Schitt Romney voters, there’s at least a silver lining to it.

lillycoyote's avatar

@bolwerk Agreed, but I’m a big believer in voting and civic responsibility and the people in the hardest hit areas have as much of a right to vote, any way the want to vote, as anyone else. It wouldn’t be right, in my opinion, either way, if the biggest “voter” deciding the outcome of this election was Sandy.

And there are still several million people without power, all over the east coast. The power company and the states need to work on providing power as quickly as they can, where it is needed most. Hopefully the election and the polling places are one of their priorities

jca's avatar

@bolwerk: I meant that if people live in an area where they have to drive to a polling place, and they can’t get gas or are very low on gas, they may decide that given the choice between driving to vote and driving to work the next day, they’ll not choose to drive to vote.

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