National Politics

Dorian's impact felt in North Carolina special elections

Officials working to ensure voters can reach polls

Trump pledges support for North Carolina after Dorian
The-CNN-Wire
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Trump vows support for NC after Dorian

(CNN) - Hurricane Dorian battered the North Carolina coast last week, bringing heavy rain, high winds and destructive tornadoes.

The storm threatened turnout in two special elections taking place on Tuesday, but state election officials have been working to ensure that voters can reach the polls.

"Voting will take place despite the challenges the hurricane presented," Karen Brinson Bell, the North Carolina State Board of Elections executive director, said in a video released Monday.

She added that "events like this show that we don't stop, even when a hurricane knocks at the door."

To make up for disruptions caused by the storm, election officials added extra early voting hours in several counties over the weekend, including every county in the coastal 3rd Congressional District.

Four counties in the 9th Congressional District also were given additional early voting hours.

Additionally, election officials extended the date by which absentee ballots can be received by 3rd Congressional District counties, as long as the ballots were postmarked by Tuesday.

Only one polling place has been impacted due to the hurricane.

Some voters in Tyrrell County in the 3rd Congressional District will vote at a different location Tuesday since their usual site is being used for hurricane emergency relief efforts.

In her video Monday, Brinson Bell said that voting equipment, records and office computers were secured "while the winds gusted and rain-soaked the eastern portion of our state."

"State Board staff attended meetings with emergency management officials to gauge possible impact from Dorian, sent guidance to county boards of elections on how to prepare and reached out to other elections officials across the state, dozens of whom volunteered to drive east to help their colleagues prepare for today's election," Patrick Gannon, a spokesman for the board, told CNN Tuesday.

In a closely watched House race for the 9th Congressional District, Democrat Dan McCready, a Marine Corps veteran, faces off against state Sen. Dan Bishop, a conservative best known for his lead role in passing the state's "bathroom bill."

McCready had appeared to suffer a narrow defeat -- by fewer than 1,000 votes -- to Republican Mark Harris last November, but evidence of ballot fraud by a GOP operative connected with Harris surfaced before the results could be certified. After the North Carolina election board voted to re-run the race, Harris took himself out of the running, leaving Republican voters to nominate Bishop.

Voters in the 3rd Congressional District will be choosing between Republican state Rep. Greg Murphy and Democratic former Greenville Mayor Allen Thomas, both vying to replace the late GOP Rep. Walter Jones, who died in February.

CNN's Liz Stark, Gregory Krieg, Jason Hanna, Steve Almasy and Drew Griffin contributed to this report.


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