A winter storm Friday could give uncertain politicians three more days to decide whether to become a candidate for local office this year.
The state told election officials in Lake, Porter and LaPorte counties Thursday they may extend the candidate filing deadline from noon Friday to noon Monday if snow closes down their county offices.
Candidates have been filing paperwork locally and in Indianapolis for the last month to run for more than 300 federal, state, county, township and municipal elective offices across Northwest Indiana on May 8.
The National Weather Service has issued a winter storm warning that between 8 inches and 14 inches of snow could fall between 6 p.m. Thursday and 9 p.m. Friday across the area.
J. Bradley King and Angela M. Nussmeyer, co-directors of the Election Division of the Indiana Secretary of State's office, issued a memo Thursday afternoon in response to questions from local officials about the storm's impact on the filing deadline.
King and Nussmeyer said it is up each county's Board of Commissioners whether to close or keep open election offices Friday.
Lake, Porter and LaPorte county commissioners said Thursday they will consult with their county police, emergency management and highway officials early Friday before declaring a snow emergency and closing election and other non-essential departments for the day.
King and Nussmeyer said, "If your office is closed at noon (Friday) under Indiana Code 3-5-4-1.5, the candidate filing deadline is automatically extended to noon, Monday, February 12, assuming that your office is reopened at that time." They also said the deadline for candidates to withdraw from the ballot remains noon Monday.