North Carolina voters have one more day to register if they want to vote on Election Day.
The State Board of Elections on Thursday reviewed requests to extend Friday’s deadline, but took no action.
The state Democratic Party asked the board to push the registration deadline to Wednesday, so people in the eastern counties whose lives have been disrupted by record flooding following Hurricane Matthew can have more time. The state elections director has allowed some leeway for application forms mailed by Friday to account for postal delays, but has kept the deadline.
People who do not complete and return an application by Friday will not be able to vote Nov. 8.
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People not registered by Friday will have the chance to register and vote during the state’s early voting period, which begins Oct. 20.
Democrats in the state’s congressional delegation, former Gov. Jim Hunt and Democratic state legislators said this week the deadline should be eased. The state NAACP has asked the board to push the deadline to Saturday and extend some early voting hours.
“Residents down east are going through an unimaginable ordeal,” Hunt said in a statement. “It is simply the right thing to do for the State Board of Elections to extend the voter registration deadline to ensure that voters in impacted areas have access to the polls, and I strongly encourage the board to do so as soon as possible.”
Kim Westbrook Strach, the board’s executive director, said local elections boards need the days between the end of registration and the beginning of early voting to process applications.
“Counties work all weekend long to do that,” she told the board.
But state Rep. Garland Pierce, a Scotland County Democrat, said in a news conference that people flooded out of their homes will face obstacles to registering during the early voting period because they don’t have access to documents required to prove their residency.
Strach told the board that people without the necessary documents can still register and vote provisionally during early voting. Their ballots will count if they bring the documents to their local elections office by Nov. 18.
Joshua D. Malcolm, a Democrat on the board, said some eastern county residents are facing a crisis with no quick resolution.
“Those folks in Lumberton who have not registered are not going to be returning to their houses any time soon,” he said.