SUMMERSVILLE, W.Va. - Audra Deitz and her staff were just finishing up the regular pre-Election Day preparations Monday - readying supplies so they could be delivered to each precinct - when a harried citizen rushed in to tell her yet another polling place was in jeopardy.
Deitz, the Nicholas County clerk, jumped into her car and zipped over to Summersville Elementary school to inspect damage. Also there were Superintendent Beverly Kingery and a crew of engineers.
The roof at the school, which serves as a polling place for two precincts, was sagging under the pressure of melting snow and was dangerously close to collapsing. As much as three feet fell in parts of the county last week.
It hardly shocked Deitz. Eight roofs already had collapsed in Nicholas County.
The sag was visible from the outside. Inside, the roof was threatening to burst through the ceiling tiles over one classroom.
This was bad news for Kingery and the school district (the good news was they had decided against having school Monday, despite Kingery's initial push to get the children back in class).
"We're trying to get them back to school as soon as we can," the superintendent said. "But we keep having issues."
Deitz was unperturbed. They still would be able to use the building for the election, since the sagging is in an older wing of the building and voting would take place in a newer addition.
Deitz spent last week worrying about Election Day in Nicholas County. She kept tally of the polling places that were without power, made calls to the Secretary of State's Office and kept in contact with the Office of Emergency Services on snow-clearing efforts.
Deitz had to deal with the fallout of the snowstorm caused by Superstorm Sandy last week. The snow threatened to further complicate the already complex ordeal of holding an election.
But by Monday she was sure everything was OK.
The weather was warmer and much of the snow was melting off the main roads. She had secured a self-contained polling tent for the one precinct that still didn't have power Sunday, but its power was restored Monday morning, so she sent the supplies to a county that needed them.