RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — A new vote-counting system is under consideration by the North Carolina State Board of Elections but it’s got to go through several approval processes.
When folks show up at a polling place in the fall, they want to make sure their vote is counted correctly.
The state is looking at new vote tabulation machines that it believes will fit that bill.
Voting integrity is a growing concern these days, and the state wants to make sure its voting systems are going to provide 100 percent accurate results.
Tuesday, it let the public look at new counting machines that are in essence an upgrade to ones already in use in many counties.
Electrical engineer Don Peck was among those attending and he had some concerns.
“What goes on in the machine, and can it be manipulated?” he asked. “It doesn’t appear so, but it depends on what’s programmed into the machine.”
The new machines have already been certified at the national level by the U.S. Elections Assistance Commission.
However, before they are allowed to be used here, the state board of elections must also OK them.
“We’ve gone through several phases of certification for voting systems in North Carolina,” said Karen Brinson Bell, the executive director of the NC Board of Elections. “They’ve been approved by the US EAC. They’ve gone through functional testing in a simulated election in a laboratory by the staff at the state board.”
On Tuesday election board members and the public both looked at the machines and got to ask questions.
State law requires they do that before the elections board can even consider approving the machines which must not contain any modems or other ways to connect to the internet.
Even with those safeguards, there are other worries in some people’s minds.
“There’s been lots of questions about lots of machines and how they work and what’s in them,” said Peck. “Can you review the software? Where is the memory and that kind of stuff.”
Current vote-counting machines in North Carolina in use already meet strict certification standards.
For the new machines, there will be a week-long period of public comment as part of the evaluation process.
After the public comment period ends on July 5, the state board of elections will review the comments and then decide if the machines are a good fit for North Carolina.
If it approves, then counties can then decide if they want to buy them.