Local Politics

Judge orders additional instruction for touch-screen voters

Posted October 30, 2010 7:50 p.m. EDT
Updated October 30, 2010 11:09 p.m. EDT

— In response to a complaint filed by the North Carolina Republican Party, a federal judge ruled Saturday that counties using touch-screen voting machines must add an additional informational alert for voters.

Judge Malcolm Howard held the special weekend hearing to consider the GOP's accusation that the State Board of Elections knew about problems with the iVotronic voting machines and didn't address them.

"The state board's been aware of the problems with these machines for we don't know how long," said Thomas Farr, an attorney for the Republican Party.

"We have every confidence in the voting systems that North Carolina has," countered Johnnie McLean, deputy director of the State Board of Elections.

Thirty-five of the 100 North Carolina counties used the machines in question during the early-voting period, which ended Saturday; 23 planned to use them on Election Day Tuesday.

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The GOP received complaints from voters who tried to vote a straight Republican ticket that the machines recorded their votes as a straight Democrat ticket.

Howard ordered that the Board of Elections must advise all counties that use the machines to post a "Voter Alert" and keep track of any complaints. When voters sign in at their polling place, they will see a sign which says:

  • Touchscreen voting machines are sensitive
  • A summary page will appear at the end of your ballot so you can review the choices selected. Carefully review your ballot to make sure your vote is accurately case.
  • If you have any problems, please ask for help from a poll worker.

The GOP wanted language added to the memo to indicate that it came as a result of a court order. Farr said, "It's outrageous that the reputation of the State Board of Elections appears to be more important than the right of the voters."