Raleigh, N.C. — A spokesman for a company that allows voters to register by signing forms remotely says North Carolina is one of several states where the technology was used.
"North Carolina is not a doing anything particularly new or innovative," said Jude Barry, a spokesman for Allpoint Voter Services.
North Carolina lawmakers and State Board of Elections members say they were surprised election staff members had administratively decided that Allpoint's registration system is legal to use. It allows prospective voters to fill out registration material using their smartphone or tablet and sign the form on their device's screen. That signature is put to paper by a robotic pen, and the form is mailed to the voter's local board of elections.
One of the questions raised is whether Allpoint has to store that signature and transcribe it onto a voter form later or whether the system is truly "signing" the form as a voter "signs" on his or her device.
Barry says the system works in real time.
"We have the capacity to do over a million signatures a month," Barry said. The system uses multiple signature machines and is able to stagger voters so that multiple people can fill out forms at the same time.
Oregon, Washington state, Nevada, Minnesota, Washington, D.C. and New Mexico have also allowed voters to register using the system, he said.
Barry has been a consultant for Democratic causes. He is and others who work with Allpoint are also affiliated with Verafirma, a company that does electronic signatures, which are different from the remote pen signatures.
Barry said he believed ultimately more governments would accept true electronic signatures. But in the mean time, he said, Allpoint's system would allow for faster voter registrations.
"We're about making it easier for the voter," he said. "I think ultimately, this is going to be easier and cheaper for local government."