Throughout the duration of the COVID-19 threat, the State Board of Elections is planning for all employees to continue working – either in the office or remotely – to prepare for important, upcoming elections. Many State Board employees are signing agreements to work from home as this situation develops.
The State Board office is monitoring developments related to COVID-19 and communicating regularly with federal and state partners. We are committed to providing safe and accessible elections for North Carolina voters.
The State Board has made an emergency amendment to an administrative rule, clarifying that the executive director may take emergency actions if necessary to conduct elections when a disease epidemic or other public health incident “makes it impossible or extremely hazardous for elections officials or voters to reach or otherwise access the voting place or that creates a significant risk of physical harm to persons in the voting place, or that would otherwise convince a reasonable person to avoid traveling to or being in a voting place.”
The rule will be published on March 20: https://s3.amazonaws.com/dl.ncsbe.gov/Requests/08%20NCAC%2001%20.0106%20Emergency%20Rule.pdf.
We remind North Carolina voters that they have three options for voting: absentee by-mail, in person during the early voting period or on Election Day.
Also, State Board staff members are drafting recommendations for the General Assembly to consider that may help mitigate effects of the COVID-19 virus on upcoming elections. Recommendations may include amending requirements for absentee by-mail voting and steps to ensure an adequate number of poll workers are available.
State Board staff members have participated in elections-specific briefings from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Department of Homeland Security. We will continue to monitor this situation closely and issue guidelines to county boards of elections about how to try to prevent the spread of the disease, based on the best advice of medical professionals.
The U.S. Election Assistance Commission has published guidance about the cleaning of voting equipment, which is available here: https://www.eac.gov/election-officials/coronavirus-covid-19-resources. We will make sure that all county boards of elections and poll workers receive this information and that supplies are available to clean voting booths and equipment regularly.
We also have posted a link on the State Board website to important Coronavirus information provided by the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services here: https://www.ncdhhs.gov/divisions/public-health/coronavirus-disease-2019-covid-19-response-north-carolina.
Because this situation is changing rapidly, we will continue to provide updates about voting and elections to the media and on our website, www.ncsbe.gov, and social media accounts.