Court extends voter sign-up

Published 10:54 am Tuesday, October 18, 2016

RALEIGH – On Friday, Wake County Superior Court Judge Donald Stephens ordered that the regular voter registration deadline be extended until close of business on Wednesday (Oct. 19) in 36 counties receiving assistance from the Federal Emergency Management Agency in the wake of Hurricane Matthew.

Bertie and Gates counties are among those listed in the order handed down by Judge Stephens.

“Our agency appreciates Judge Stephens’ thoughtful consideration of this matter and will fully comply with his order,” said Kim Westbrook Strach, State Board of Elections executive director.

The judicial ruling on Friday came in response to a lawsuit filed by the North Carolina Democratic Party.

The party sued Strach in county court on Oct. 14, which was the current deadline for voter registration. A hearing on a request to extend registration to this Wednesday was held Friday afternoon.

Strach decided earlier last week to keep the Oct. 14 deadline, but told county boards to accept registration applications mailed to them until Wednesday afternoon as long as the applications were dated Friday.

The party’s attorneys had argued that people should have until Wednesday to turn in their forms in person at county-elections and other government offices.

In the other 64 counties, the regular voter registration ended Oct. 14. Would-be voters may still register and vote at the same time during the 17-day early voting period, which begins Thursday (Oct. 20) and runs through Nov. 5

“Same-day registration is available during the three-week period after the regular registration deadlines,” Strach said.  “We encourage those displaced by Hurricane Matthew to take advantage of same-day registration opportunities throughout their county.”