Special Election for open congress seat

Published 4:54 pm Thursday, September 12, 2019

The special election to choose a successor to the late Congressman Walter Jones was scheduled to conclude on Tuesday.

Early voting in Tyrrell County and elsewhere was interrupted by Hurricane Dorian. Voting in the courthouse in Columbia ended at noon on Thursday, Sept. 5, and the polling place was closed all day Friday.

No early voting had been scheduled for Saturday throughout the Third Congressional District, but State Board Executive Director Karen Brinson Bell, using her emergency powers, ordered polling places opened on Saturday in 11 southern counties of the district.

On Saturday Bell issued an order mandating one-stop early voting hours from noon to 3 p.m. on Sunday in Camden, Currituck, Dare, Pasquotank, Perquimans and Tyrrell counties, all of which were affected by Hurricane Dorian.

Election Day was set for Tuesday with polls to be open from 6:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m.

The Alligator precinct voting place was to be the Alligator fire substation on Sound Side Road.

Columbia voters were diverted to the elections office in the courthouse because Tyrrell Hall was being used as an emergency shelter and disaster supplies distribution center.

Gum Neck voting was to be in the Sheriff’s Satellite Office on North Gum Neck Road.

Kilkenny voters were to go to Nazareth Church of Christ on N.C. 94, and polls in Scuppernong and South Fork precincts were to be open in the Eastern 4-H Center on Clover Way.

A total of 198 Tyrrell residents took advantage of early voting before the poll closed Sunday afternoon. County registration in all parties plus unaffiliated is approximately 2,200 voters.

State law provides that the executive director, as the chief state elections official, may exercise emergency powers to conduct an election in districts where the normal schedule has been disrupted by a natural disaster. G.S. ยง 163A-750(a)(1).

Neil Baddour, elections specialist from the State Board of Elections in Raleigh, and Jason Perry, Stokes County elections director, staffed the Tyrrell elections office during and after the hurricane’s passage.

They are to be on duty here until the election is over, filling the vacancy created by Debbie Swain’s retirement on August 30.

Several weeks ago Swain cited family issues as her reason for stepping down at this time as county elections director, said Inetta L. Knight, elections board secretary.