Raleigh, N.C. — North Carolina would tweak its election law requiring North Carolina voters make their choices on paper ballots under a bill that cleared the Senate Rules Committee on Wednesday morning.
House Bill 836 is a slimmed down and reformulated measure that now carries four elections-related provisions, including one giving counties that use electronic voting machines more time to make the switch back to paper. Current law requires those "direct record" electronic voting machines to be phased out before 2018. Under the bill, they could be used through August 2019 but only if a county used such machines this year.
The bill also authorizes a new type of voting device that would allow voters to make their choices on an electronic device, such as a touch-screen machine, which then prints the completed ballot. Those ballots would then be counted by running the paper copies through a scanner.
"We want the ballots to be retrievable," said Rep. David Lewis, R-Harnett, the bill's sponsor. "Those ballots don't necessarily have to be pre-printed."
Lewis' bill would allow the State Board of Elections to authorize local counties to use such machines. Currently, the state board can't certify any new system that doesn't use pre-printed ballots.
The measure cleared the Rules Committee on a voice vote and next heads to the Senate floor.