4) How will the storm affect early voting?
Not much. Most of the states in Sandy’s path don’t have early voting, except of the absentee-ballot variety. Maryland, a state Obama is expected to win easily, has closed its early-voting program on Monday. Virginia allows absentee voting in person ahead of Election Day, but only for residents who meet certain criteria. States that don’t let folks cast ballots in person before Election Day include several that are expected to be the most heavily affected by Sandy: Delaware, Pennsylvania, New York and New Jersey.
5) Does this throw a wrench into Obama’s vaunted ground game?
Maybe. Because most of the states in the affected region don’t have early voting or aren’t competitive, the scenarios for major damage to Obama’s turnout machine are a bit of a reach. But a little difference could matter a lot. North Carolina has early voting, and Sandy could have an effect there, but the bulk of the state is likely to be spared Sandy’s wrath. If transportation and power are out in Virginia’s northern suburbs and coastal cities for more than a week, Obama could have a turnout problem on his hands — but his team would also have a week to adjust. Already, Team Obama has been urging Democrats in the District of Columbia and Maryland, as it did in 2008, to help get folks in Virginia to the polls. Jeremy Bird, national field director for Obama for America, sent an e-mail to District Democrats on Sunday night asking them to meet at party headquarters to make calls into Virginia on Tuesday. Those calls might fall on irritated ears.