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Board of Elections vote to rescind certification delay fails; next meeting scheduled

A North Carolina State Board of Elections motion to rescind members’ votes Monday night related to voting systems certification failed Thursday after a tie-vote following Chairman Bob Cordle’s resignation for telling an inappropriate joke at an elections conference earlier this week.

The Board had voted Monday to delay certification of voting systems ahead of the 2020 elections so that it could adopt stricter criteria about markings on paper ballots, but Republican member David Black said he misunderstood what he voted for that night and he presented a motion Thursday to rescind it.

He said at the meeting Thursday that there was a sense of urgency to move forward with the certification process without delay because some counties needed to prepare to purchase new systems before theirs are de-certified at the end of the year. The machines that will become de-certified will no longer be able to be used in elections.

Black said it would also be unfair to the three vendors whose machines were under consideration for the Board to postpone the process.

Stella Anderson, a Democratic member who acted as Chairman solely for Thursday’s meeting, stood by her Monday motion to adopt the stricter criteria. She said if the Board thought the criteria was a good idea to have, then they should implement it for this certification process.

The certification requirement she proposes the Board consider is: “an electronically assisted marking device or other ballot marking equipment shall produce human readable marks on a paper ballot. A voter must be able to identify his or her intent as evidence by the mark on the ballot.”

The Board vote was tied — Anderson and fellow Democrat Jeff Carmon voted not to rescind Monday’s vote and Republican members Black and Ken Raymond voted to rescind the vote. The motion to rescind failed without a majority vote.

The Board will meet at 1 p.m. Aug. 23 to consider the stricter voting systems certification requirement and other matters. They will hear public comment at that meeting.

Voting rights advocates have been encouraging the Board to certify hand-marked paper ballots to ensure the most secure elections in the future. Several of them were at the Thursday meeting, though there was no public comment.

It remains unclear when Gov. Roy Cooper will appoint a new chairperson to the Board.

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