The North Carolina State Board of Elections is set to decide tonight whether it will continue to certify touch-screen voting systems or return to analog paper ballots.
Voting rights groups are urging the Board to return to paper for a number of reasons, but the big one being security issues.
“Specifically, while a new generation of touch-screen machines known as ballot-marking devices (BMDs) improve on the touchscreen systems currently used in parts of North Carolina, we are concerned that these machines raise a new set of security and usability challenges,” states a Democracy NC web page. “We have urged the State Board to to limit touchscreen BMDs for use with voters with accessibility needs and certify only those machines that tabulate hand-marked ballots — the sort of system used in much of the state.”
About one-third of the state uses touch-screen voting. The certification of new voting systems would empower the 100 county boards of elections to choose equipment that best serves their voters in 2020 and beyond.
Some voting machines used in North Carolina are more than a decade old.
The meeting tonight is a continuation of one from Sunday night. The Board had postponed its decision to tonight, and will choose from three vendors. Read more information about it here, and see agenda items here.
The public can attend the meeting, which starts at 7 p.m. in the Triangle Ballroom at Cary Embassy Suites, 201 Harrison Oaks Blvd., Cary, 27513. They can also listen to proceedings by calling 914-614-3221 (code 944-047-563).
Democracy NC is encouraging North Carolinians to also reach out to the Board ahead of the meeting to urge them to vote for a paper-ballot system. Read more about how to do that here.
“This is important because when it comes to machines, we care about access, security, and confidence,” the organization’s website states. “Voters deserve election infrastructure they can trust. As next year’s elections approach, public interest and concern in systems especially and security practices generally will only increase.”
Read NC Policy Watch tomorrow afternoon for an update about the vote.