NC board considers changes to newly approved voting machines

Vote sign (Photo: Tom Arthur / CC BY-SA 2.0)

RALEIGH, NC (AP) — North Carolina elections officials will decide whether to accept software and equipment alterations by a voting-machine manufacturer that recently got touch-screen ballot-marking devices certified for use in the state during the 2020 elections.

The State Board of Elections meets on Friday to consider the request by the company called Election Systems & Software, whose products were certified by the board in August for counties to purchase.

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The amended certification is important because state law says the company’s touchscreen-only equipment — used for years by about one-third of state’s voting population — can’t be used any more without a waiver. Board staff recommended the changes should be approved without an extensive review because they are minor.

Critics of the ballot-marking machines, which digitizes votes into bar-code data that gets tallied by counting machines, say the alterations are significant and further proof the machines can’t be trusted for accuracy. They say only ballots marked by a voter’s hand should be permitted.

The conflict occurs less than three months before North Carolina’s primary.