Exercising her statutory emergency powers, State Board Executive Director Karen Brinson Bell on Friday issued an order mandating additional one-stop early voting hours in the following 3rd Congressional District counties affected by Hurricane Dorian:
In each of these counties, early voting, including same-day registration, will be available from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday (September 7) at the county board of elections office or the in lieu of site (Lenoir, Pitt) only. Satellite early voting sites will not be open on Saturday.
Please refer to the attached order for the early voting schedule changes in those counties. For various reasons, including lingering poor conditions, power outages and availability of personnel, the other six counties in the district will not conduct early voting Saturday.
The order also extends the canvass date in the 3rd Congressional District to September 20 and extends to September 18 the deadline by which absentee ballots may be received by the county boards of elections, provided that they were postmarked by Election Day.
“We appreciate the hard work of county election officials to quickly assess the damage and prepare to serve voters on Saturday in most of the counties in the 3rd Congressional District,” said Karen Brinson Bell, executive director of the State Board of Elections. “This is an important election, so we encourage all eligible voters to make their voices heard.”
State law provides that the executive director, as the chief state elections official, may exercise emergency powers to conduct an election in districts where the normal schedule has been disrupted by a natural disaster. G.S. § 163A-750(a)(1).
Election Day in the 3rd Congressional District is Tuesday, September 10. Polls will be open from 6:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m.
On Thursday, Brinson Bell reached out to county elections officials across the state, asking for help at the State Board and in counties with ongoing elections that are being impacted by the storm.
Elections officials from at least 22 counties – including western counties such as McDowell, Ashe, Yancey and Haywood – volunteered to travel east for a long weekend to help. The volunteers will either help State Board staff in Raleigh or be deployed to counties in the 3rd and 9th congressional districts that need assistance over the next few days.
Several State Board employees are already working in counties with September 10 elections.
“This response from county boards of elections shows the dedication of our statewide elections team to getting the job done for the voters,” Brinson Bell said. “We are thankful to all those who volunteered to help and for elections officials who continue to conduct elections under these difficult circumstances.”
For updates on Hurricane Dorian’s impact on voting in North Carolina, visit: https://www.ncsbe.gov/VotingandDisasters. Follow us on Twitter at Twitter.com/NCSBE, and like our Facebook page, Facebook.com/NCSBE.