Sandy gives voters needed reprieve

Hurricane Sandy has prompted Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett to extend the deadline for voters to request absentee ballots by up to two days, which gives registered voters in Philadelphia until Thursday at 5 p.m. to show up at county election offices to fill out a ballot and vote on the spot.

That’s a good thing, especially for voters whose modes of transportation have been compromised because of Sandy.

 But it’s particularly good for Judy Levin of Society Hill. Levin and her husband are registered to vote in Pennsylvania, but they live in Massachusetts part-time. Because they were going to be in Massachusetts for Election Day, they applied for absentee ballots, both sending applications to a City Hall address.

To Levin’s surprise, her application was returned by the post office,  affixed with an “undeliverable” sticker  because of an incorrect address. But how could that be, since Levin’s husband received his application with no problem?

Levin emailed me, and I forwarded her concern to the office of Philadelphia City Commissioner Stephanie Singer. Turns out, as my colleague Bob Warner reported Tuesday, that a glitch in one of the postal system’s automated devices was not recognizing City Hall as an address. A spokeswoman said Monday that the postal service was working to fix it as quickly as possible.

That’s good news to Levin, who was understandably suspicious because of all the recent absentee voter shenanigans occurring  in Florida and elsewhere.

“I’m glad the wheels got rolling again and it doesn’t smell fishy,” Levin said via phone from Massachusetts. “But the other piece of my concern is the pile of applications like mine that are sitting at the post office.

"I’m hoping the people are reading the newspaper and know they can get an application,” she added, “otherwise they’re not going to vote.”