Raleigh, N.C. — The Republican National Committee is writing to the top election officials in six states, including North Carolina, asking them to make sure touch-screen voting machines are working properly.
Republicans are concerned about reports that some voters have had trouble casting their votes for GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney on touch screen machines. Touch screens are not used in all North Carolina counties -- Wake County voters still fill out bubble sheets -- but some big counties like Cumberland, Guilford and Mecklenburg do use them.
The letter from RNC chief counsel John R. Phillippe, Jr. asks that states do four things to head off problems:
1. Re-calibrate all voting machines on the morning of Election Day before the polls open, or, if necessary, the day before the election.
2. Make arrangements for additional technicians on Election Day in case of increased calibration problems.
3. Issue guidance requiring polling place officials to prominently post a sign reminding voters to double-check that the voting machine properly recorded their vote before final submission. This sign should also note that poll workers should be notified and can assist in the case of a voting machine error. (See, e.g., North Carolina State Board of Elections Numbered Memo 2012-24.)
4. Issue guidance requiring polling place officials to remind voters to double-check that the voting machine properly recorded their vote before final submission, and to note that poll workers should be notified and can assist in the case of a voting machine error. (See, e.g., North Carolina State Board of Elections Numbered Memo 2012-24.)
It's worth noting that guidance issued by North Carolina was cited in the letter. Also relevant is this is not a problem unique to this election. For as long as touch-screen voting machines have been used in North Carolina, there have been reports of sporadic calibration problems -- which have alternately favored Republican and Democratic candidates.
And one final bit of history. The Republican-lead General Assembly twice rejected attempts to draw down $4.1 million in federal funds that would have been used to prepare for this election. Much of that money would have gone toward...wait for it ... re-calibrating voting machines, arranging for additional Election Day technicians, and poll worker training, such as was requested in the RNC letter.