Hurricane, vote challenges prompt push for changes to NC election rules

Posted May 30
Updated May 31

Questions linger as vote counting continues

— Events from last fall might wind up being felt for years to come during North Carolina elections.

The State Board of Elections has proposed several changes to elections rules following Hurricane Matthew and the contentious gubernatorial election.

One proposed change would give the state elections director emergency authority to change election schedules following a natural disaster or a military conflict involving troop deployment.

Hurricane Matthew inundated several southeastern North Carolina counties in October, and many polling sites remained underwater or were cut off by flooding during the early voting period. Voter registration deadlines had to be adjusted for people who lost personal records when their homes flooded.

Some other changes come after the state Republican Party and then-Gov. Pat McCrory's campaign filed various protests in dozens of counties challenging voter eligibility. The moves came as McCrory tried to make up ground on Democratic challenger Roy Cooper, who eventually won the election.

The proposals would require people filing protests to certify under penalty of perjury that the facts alleged are true and accurate – most of the protests filed in the gubernatorial race were found to be baseless – and would prohibit county elections boards from delaying certification of their local results unless protests involve large enough vote totals to change the outcome of an election.

The State Board of Elections is accepting public comments on all of the proposed rule changes from Thursday through July 31, when a public hearing on the proposals will be held at the board's office.

Comments can be submitted online, by emailing rules@ncsbe.gov or mailing them to N.C. State Board of Elections, Attn: Katelyn Love, Deputy General Counsel, 441 N. Harrington Street, Raleigh, NC 27603.


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