MARCH 20, 2020 12:51 PM
The runoff election in the Republican primary for U.S. Rep. Mark Meadows’ congressional seat has been postponed from May 12 to June 23 over concerns about corona virus.
N.C. State Board of Elections executive director Karen Brinson Bell told the board Friday that she’ll issue an emergency order to change the date. The second-place finisher in the 11th congressional district GOP primary earlier this month, real-estate investor Madison Cawthorn, had requested a runoff against first-place finisher Lynda Bennett, a local GOP leader who has Meadows’ endorsement.
Bell said the delay “will ensure the safety of the voters, poll workers and election staff while carrying out the election process.” Rep. David Lewis, a Harnett County Republican who chairs the House Elections Committee, said he supports the change. He said he looks forward to working with the elections board and staff “on any legislative measures that could be necessary” due to corona virus.
The elections board is also delaying deadlines for hearings on protests and complaints about the March primary. Those deadlines will be put on hold until May 20, which means disputed primary results could have to wait for a resolution. County election boards still have the option to hold hearings on the complaints if they can do so safely through phone or online meetings, Bell’s order said.
Friday’s action also addresses county elections offices that have closed due to corona virus concerns. They must continue to accept voter registration forms and absentee ballot requests by offering a locked and “secure” drop-off container.
Also Friday, the State Board of Elections moved to order a new election for a Columbus County commissioner primary. That primary came down to a four-vote margin of victory, and 10 voters were given an incorrect ballot that did not include the race, officials said.