Ballots could be printed on-site under election reform bill

Posted June 10, 2015

— 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.


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  • Nicolle Leney Jun 10, 2015
    user avatar

    And when that printer breaks on the day of the election?

    If you're going to require a paper copy anyway, why have people use an electronic device that is going to print out paper anyway? That just seems like an extra step and one that could cause problems. People know how to fill in a bubble.

  • Randy Riddle Jun 10, 2015
    user avatar

    Hmm ... Even if the voter checked the printout to make sure all the votes were correct, couldn't the scanning process change those votes? Any provision for voters also checking this?