BLADEN COUNTY, N.C. (WECT) - Hurricane Dorian is impacting early voting in the makeup election in North Carolina’s Ninth Congressional District, which includes part of Bladen County. Early voting will not be available for voters in Bladen County on Thursday or Friday, in part because the Bladen County Board of Elections office in Elizabethtown will be closed because of the potential impacts of the hurricane.
In a news release, the State Board of Elections says it has received requests from some county election boards and the North Carolina Democratic Party to extend the early voting schedule into the weekend to offset the loss of early voting hours. The release says Executive Director Karen Brinson Bell had not exercised her emergency powers to alter an election schedule, which are allowed “where the normal schedule for an election has been disrupted by a natural disaster, extremely inclement weather or armed conflict”.
“We want every eligible voter to be able to cast a ballot in the September 10 elections,” Brinson Bell said in a statement included in the news release. “With the oncoming storm, the safety of elections officials, poll workers and voters is of utmost concern. We are monitoring the weather closely and communicating with county boards of elections. I will consider remedies to the loss of early voting hours and other interruptions in the coming days, based on the conditions on the ground, the availability of polling places and workers and other factors. We want to ensure that we do not take any action that would further compound the situation.”
Election Day in the Ninth Congressional District race is set for Tuesday, September 10. The State Board of Elections ordered the makeup election earlier this year after finding evidence of election fraud in Bladen County during the 2018 race.