Superstorm Sandy has left a trail of wreckage in her wake, devastating mid-Atlantic coastal communities. But her political impact may be felt as far inland as Ohio, where more than nine polling precincts in and around Cleveland still do not have power four days after the storm passed.
The Cleveland Plain Dealer reports that "Cleveland, Lakewood, Brecksville, Berea and Hunting Valley each have one polling place in the dark. Bay Village has four spots without power." In addition, more than a dozen other polling locations could not be reached by phone.
Election officials have voiced confidence that Tuesday's election will not be affected by the power outages, pointing to reports from local utility companies that power should be restored to affected areas by the end of Monday.
But their contingency plans do not exactly inspire confidence: "If we encounter outages, we have portable generators we could deploy to a limited number of locations and also have flashlight supplies on hand to help deal with that situation," said Jane Platten, Cuyahoga County Board of Elections director.
Come Tuesday, President Obama and his team would probably like to rely on more than flashlights and generators to ensure that voting in Cuyahoga County proceeds unencumbered - the Cleveland area is a Democratic bastion in fiercely competitive Ohio, and Mr. Obama needs to amass a prohibitive advantage there to offset Romney's strength in southern Ohio.