Hurricane Sandy may impact voting in North Carolina

by: Jeff Smith Updated:


CHARLOTTE, N.C. - With Election Day a little more than a week away, Eyewitness News turned to political analyst Dr. Michael Bitzer to ask how Hurricane Sandy will impact voter turnout. 

“We really have nothing in terms of precedent to establish what this could potentially mean," Bitzer said.

Hundreds of voters turned out to an "Obama for America" bus tour Sunday afternoon in North Charlotte.

Charlotte Mayor Anthony Foxx said North Carolina is a key swing state. With Hurricane Sandy looming, he fears turnout could be low in the eastern part of the state.

"It's not great news to ever have a storm like this, but it's particularly bad timing given the election," he said.

There have already been 1.2 million early votes already cast in North Carolina. More than half are from registered Democrats like Joseph Tulley, who's keeping an eye on the storm.

Many swing states like Pennsylvania and New Hampshire don't have early voting, so citizens there can't vote now and get it over with before Sandy hits this week. They'll have to wait until election day.

"There could be some damage. It could damage the [voting] machines, power could be down, people can't get out of their houses," Tulley said.

The president had told supporters after the DNC that he had planned on returning to Charlotte to campaign. It appears unlikely that'll happen.

Dr. Jill Biden's campaign appearance in Charlotte for Sunday morning was canceled.

The cancellations appear to be good news for Mitt Romney, who is leading, slightly, in North Carolina polls.

Bitzer said the president's leadership this week could sway undecided voters.

"I think it sends a signal that the president is the commander-in-chief, he is in charge, he is monitoring the situation. The best thing that he can do right now is be presidential," Bitzer said. "That's one advantage he has that Mitt Romney does not."

Bitzer said both candidates will take a softer approach this week, especially if Sandy causes injuries and deaths.