The Daily Tar Heel

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Friday December 9th

Florence relief efforts expand to legislation as Cooper extends voter registration

Ricky Leung (left) asks UNC student Samantha Mndello (right) to register to vote for the 2018 election in the Pit on Monday, Sept. 24.
Buy Photos Ricky Leung (left) asks UNC student Samantha Mndello (right) to register to vote for the 2018 election in the Pit on Monday, Sept. 24.

Gov. Roy Cooper took action to help Hurricane Florence relief efforts by signing two bills into law on Oct. 3. 

After a special session held on Oct. 2 to discuss hurricane relief, lawmakers presented Cooper with Senate Bill 2 and House Bill 4, both of which were signed into law by the governor. 

Senate Bill 2, School Calendar and Pay, is an act that addresses concerns from school systems that were affected by Hurricane Florence. The bill provides flexibility in school calendars, facilitates compensation to school employees and provides relief to students enrolled in educator preparation programs that were affected by the storm. 

House Bill 4, the Hurricane Florence Emergency Response Act, extends voter registration for counties that were heavily impacted by Hurricane Florence. 

Before the special session was held, the North Carolina NAACP held a news conference asking the state elections board to extend the voter registration deadline, but legislation was already in the works.

The Hurricane Florence Emergency Response Act extends the regular voter registration from Friday, the original deadline, to Oct. 15 at 5 p.m. 

However, this extension only applies to the 28 counties in North Carolina that were most affected by Hurricane Florence. For the other 72 counties in the state, the voter registration deadline will remain Friday at 5 p.m.

Mailed registration applications must be postmarked on or before the deadline.

The 28 counties affected by this extension are Beaufort, Bladen, Brunswick, Carteret, Columbus, Craven, Cumberland, Duplin, Greene, Harnett, Hoke, Hyde, Johnston, Jones, Lee, Lenoir, Moore, New Hanover, Onslow, Pamlico, Pender, Pitt, Richmond, Robeson, Sampson, Scotland, Wayne and Wilson.

The Hurricane Florence Emergency Response Act also enacts other relief efforts such as establishing a $56.5 million Hurricane Florence Disaster Recovery Fund that will be responsible for funding hurricane relief efforts.

“Hurricane Florence has deeply wounded North Carolina, but working together, we’ll recover smarter and stronger,” Cooper said in a press release. “The bills I’ve signed today help students and teachers, protect voter access and make an initial down payment on the cost of this recovery.”

Cooper said that North Carolinians from all political parties have been affected, and he is dedicated to helping Florence survivors by working with legislators from both parties.

“When a storm rolls in, it doesn’t come with a party label and our response can’t either,” he said. 


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