State elections board encourages early voting for Sept. 10 races ahead of possible Dorian impacts

State elections board encourages early voting for Sept. 10 races ahead of possible Dorian impacts
State elections officials are urging voters to take to the polls early in case Hurricane Dorian makes voting on Election Day difficult or impossible

RALEIGH, N.C. (WECT) - While Southeastern North Carolina waits for the forecast of Hurricane Dorian to narrow, the North Carolina State Board of Elections is encouraging voters to go ahead and cast their ballots.

North Carolina’s 9th and 3rd congressional districts have elections set for Tuesday, Sept. 10. While the storm is forecast to be well out of the area by then, the state is encouraging voters to include a stop at an early voting site as part of their storm preparations.

“We do not want Dorian to put a damper on turnout for these important elections,” NCSBE Karen Brinson Bell said in a release Sunday night.

Bladen County has two early voting sites that will re-open after the holiday weekend on Sept. 3:

  • Bladen County Board of Elections, 301 S. Cypress St. Elizabethtown, NC
    • Open 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.
  • Tarheel Municipal Buildiing, 14867 NC 87 Hwy. W. Tar Heel, NC.
    • Open 10:30 a.m. to 7 p.m.

WECT meteorologists don’t anticipate the same devastating effects on the inland areas that are part of the 9th district, including Bladen County, but urge vigilance in case forecasts change.

If the storm does cause significant damage in Bladen County, the state board of elections does have statutory authority to step in and attempt to mitigate the effects of an emergency.

In 2018, that included extending the deadline for absentee by mail ballots, allowing those ballots to be dropped off at early voting sites and giving county boards more flexibility in who was hired to be a poll worker.

Right now, the NCSBE has not enacted its emergency powers.

The race in the 9th district is being re-done after the state found the November 2018 results to be tainted by election fraud. The seat in the 3rd district is vacant after the death of Republican Walter Jones.

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