The wide-ranging impacts of Hurricane Sandy on North Carolina – tidal surges, heavy wind, and rain along the coast and inland; heavy snowfall expected in the mountains – have elections officials around the state scrambling to make sure early voting continues as planned or gets rescheduled when the weather lets up.
Dare County has canceled early voting at each of its three locations on Monday, and a county official said they hope to re-open Tuesday.
"Tide is rising very fast across the causeway and Wanchese," said Melva Garrison, county election director. "Hatteras is already flooded, and the roads on Hatteras Island have been compromised."
Ocracoke Island in Hyde County was set to have early voting over the weekend on Saturday, but the plan was nixed. Gary Bartlett, state elections director, said it appears unlikely that it will be possible to reschedule for this weekend, but the main elections office in Hyde has remained open.
On the other side of the state, Alleghany County elections director Kate Cosner said snow had started to fall around noon Monday. She said the plan is to stay open unless the county administration closes its office buildings.
"We're open as of right now, but that of course could change by tomorrow," Cosner said.
A little farther to the west, Jane Ann Hodges, Watauga County elections director, said the snowfall is unlikely to change their plans.
"You have to remember, we're used to this. Watauga County is tough. The courthouse doesn't close unless there's 8 to 12 inches." Hodges said. "We're not even looking into closing at this point."
Bartlett said that county election boards must unanimously adopt changes to their hours and notify the state, but he said everyone he's heard from is working to make sure they can stay open.
"Everyone is working hard to make sure people have the chance to vote," Bartlett said.