@NCCapitol

@NCCapitol

Counties could get extra time to switch back to paper ballots

Posted April 16, 2015

— Counties that use electronic voting machines will get more time to switch back to paper ballots under a measure that cleared the House Elections Committee on Thursday.

Under a sweeping election laws reform that passed in 2013, counties would have to do away with touch-screen voting machines like those used in 24 counties, including Cumberland County, by the 2018 elections. House Bill 373, sponsored by Rep. Dennis Riddell, R-Alamance, would give those counties until September 2019 to make the switch.

"That will ensure these machines will be in place for the municipal elections and do a trial run before the presidential election year" in 2020, Riddell said.

He said the measure would give counties more time to come up with the money to make the switch, which past estimates showed would cost more than $10 million statewide.

Electronic voting machines allow local boards of election to compile votes more quickly, but their use is sometimes controversial, with voters complaining that improperly maintained machines appear to switch votes.

Most counties, including Wake County, exclusively use paper ballots that are then counted by a scanner.

Riddell's bill will next be heard on the House floor.

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