A West Virginia state legislative candidate was killed by a falling tree in the intense snowstorm that Sandy swept over the region, and election officials said it is too late to remove his name from Tuesday’s ballot.
John Rose, 60, a Republican candidate for the House of Delegates, was the fifth person killed in West Virginia when Sandy dumped up to 3 feet of snow on the Mountain State.
West Virginia Secretary of State Natalie E. Tennant said her thoughts and prayers are with the family of Rose, a Barbour County House of Delegates candidate.
A sign will be posted at precincts advising voters of Rose’s death, according to state election officials, but there is not enough time to take his name off the ballot and substitute a new candidate.
If he receives the most votes, the GOP executive committee of Barbour County will submit three names to Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin, a Democrat, who will make an appointment.
In the meantime, West Virginia officials are growing concerned about the effect of widespread power outages on the election.
“Are we going to have precincts that have power, and can people get to those precincts?” Tennant told the Los Angeles Times. The election is five days away, she added, “and we still don’t know what else we might get from this storm.”
“My other concern, which we haven’t even seen yet, is flooding,” she added.
Utility crews have been asked to make restoring power to precincts a priority, but Tennant said she has contingency plans that could include relocating precincts and using paper ballots.
Maryland and the District of Columbia have extended hours for early voting after it was suspended earlier in the week because of the storm. Virginia doesn’t have early voting, but election officials have extended the hours for voters to cast absentee ballots in person.
“I don’t want anything to interrupt ... full participation in democracy,” Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell said earlier this week in asking election officials in his state to extend their hours.