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Nearly half of NC Republicans have little to no confidence ballots will be counted properly this year, WRAL poll shows

A plurality of voters in all parties had at least some confidence their ballot would be accurately counted. Distrust in the voting system was highest among North Carolina Republicans.

Posted Updated

By
Bryan Anderson
, WRAL state government reporter
RALEIGH, N.C. — Forty-four percent of likely Republican voters have little to no confidence that their vote in the Nov. 8 election will be counted accurately, a WRAL News Poll found. Meanwhile, Democrats and independents overwhelmingly have at least some confidence their votes will be properly recorded.

The poll, conducted in partnership with SurveyUSA from Wednesday through Sunday and released Monday, surveyed 677 likely North Carolina voters. It reported a credibility interval of 4.4 percentage points. A credibility interval is similar to a margin of error but takes into account more factors and is considered by some pollsters to be a more accurate measurement of statistical certainty.

Michael Bitzer, a Catawba College political scientist who analyzes voting trends, has worked with a bipartisan group of individuals and organizations in an effort to restore confidence in the state’s voting processes after former President Donald Trump cast doubt over election systems across the country in his 2020 defeat.

Bitzer said Trump’s questioning of the mail-in voting and unproven claims of mass election fraud in key swing states is the driving force behind Republicans’ skepticism.

“A lot of that certainly gets laid at the feet of the former president, who continuously reinforced the idea of, ‘If I lose, the system must have been rigged,’” Bitzer said. “That is not a basic American norm or principle. If you lose, it’s because the other candidate won more voters or got more support. What he’s doing is calling the system into question and this is the result.”

The WRAL News poll found that 15% of GOP respondents have full confidence their vote will be counted accurately, far less than the three-fifths of Democrats and 42% of independents. While 17% of Republicans had no confidence of their ballot being properly recorded, only 5% of Democrats and independents felt similarly.

Thirty-nine percent of Republicans, 30% of independents and 27% of Democrats had some confidence their vote would be properly counted. Meanwhile, 27% of Republicans, 19% of independents and 7% of Democrats had little confidence.

Doug Heye, a Republican strategist and former communications director for the Republican National Committee who worked on three successful North Carolina U.S. Senate campaigns, called GOP criticisms of mail-in voting in North Carolina “foolish.”

“That's the political reality of where we are now,” he said.

Over the past two years, election officials in North Carolina have faced an onslaught of complaints, records requests and intimidation from election skeptics, including many who deny the results of the 2020 presidential election.

North Carolina elections officials are increasingly concerned about the ability of poll workers to carry out their functions amid increased hostility.

North Carolina’s State Board of Elections, which includes three Democrats and two Republicans, unanimously voted in August to clarify rules for partisan election observers after several counties reported run-ins with aggressive poll watchers during the May primary.
The changes were rejected by the Rules Review Commission — a regulatory body whose members are appointed by the state’s GOP-controlled legislature. The move has left some local election administrators in the state on edge as the Nov. 8 election nears.

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