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FEMA's Fugate: Fixing post-Sandy election problems to be "led by the states"

The Federal Emergency Management Agency is considering what might happen if widespread power outages and damage to polling places from Hurricane Sandy can't be addressed in time for the election.

It's something FEMA administrator Craig Fugate, the former top emergency management official in Florida, had to deal with in 2004 after four hurricanes struck the state before the presidential election.

"We are anticipating that based on the storm, there could be impacts that would linger into next week and have impacts on federal elections," Fugate said. "Our chief counsel's been working on making sure that we have the proper guidance on how to support any actions that may be required in areas that are declared (disasters.)"

That includes determining whether states can be reimbursed for any work they must to do to fix or move polling places damaged in the storm.

"It really comes back to the overall things you need to have in any community" after a storm, Fugate said. "It needs to be safe and secure, you've got to focus on power restoration and getting critical infrastructure back."

However, states affected by the storm will be responsible for much of the work. "This will led by the states," Fugate said. "We'll be in a support role."

Fugate was also asked during a press conference whether then-President George W. Bush had asked him to serve as the FEMA director in 2005 after the agency's post-Hurricane Katrina meltdown. He declined to answer. But Fugate did say that he pens his own Twitter feed. "That's why there's mistypings in there."

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