RALEIGH — As Hurricane Dorian approaches, the State Board of Elections encourages individuals eligible to vote in Sept. 10 contests to consider casting their ballot during the One-Stop early voting period, which ends Friday (Sept. 6).
Elections are under way in North Carolina’s 3rd and 9th congressional districts, as well as municipal elections in Charlotte in Mecklenburg County. The 3rd Congressional District includes most of the eastern coast of North Carolina, which stands to be most affected by the storm. The 9th District includes parts of southeastern North Carolina.
During the early voting period, voters may cast their ballots in person at any One-Stop location in their county. Most early voting locations are closed for Labor Day, but they are open Tuesday through Friday of this week.
“We encourage everyone eligible to vote in the September contests to add a visit to an early voting site to your hurricane preparation checklist and cast their ballot while conditions are safe,” said Karen Brinson Bell, executive director of the State Board of Elections. “We do not want Dorian to put a damper on turnout for these important elections.”
Meanwhile, State Board employees are in regular contact with state emergency management and public safety officials and are monitoring the storm as it moves toward the United States. On Sunday, Brinson Bell sent preliminary guidance to county boards of elections to remind them of steps they should take to prepare for possible storm effects, such as flooding or power outages in county board offices, early voting sites or Election Day polling places. Additional guidance will be provided in the coming days.
N.C.G.S 163A-750 provides that the State Board executive director may exercise emergency powers to conduct an election where the normal schedule has been disrupted by a natural disaster, extremely inclement weather or armed conflict. As of Sunday afternoon, weather conditions did not warrant the use of emergency powers.
“We will be closely monitoring conditions on the ground and will consider any remedies necessary to ensure successful, accessible elections in 2019,” Brinson Bell said.
In November 2018, then-Executive Director Kim Westbrook Strach exercised emergency powers in an order, extending the deadline for receipt of absentee ballots postmarked by Election Day, allowing voters to drop off absentee-by-mail ballots to any early voting site or county board of elections office in the state and giving county boards more flexibility in appointing precinct officials.