My Vote Counts, Right? ...... RIGHT!?! – TTS 67 (Civics)

If you are a voter in North Carolina, Lynn Bernstein has your back.

Lynn is on the Election Protection Committee of the League of Women Voters of Wake County. Her specialty is voting machines, with an eye on making sure that the vote you cast is the vote that is recorded and counted.

The state Board of Elections is in the process of certifying what voting machines the counties can use in 2020 and for the next decade or so. Vendors are offering a variety of devices, some fancy and high-tech, and some pretty darn simple. Turns out that “pretty darn simple” is the safest, easiest and cheapest way to go, with an emphasis on this phrase: Hand Marked Paper Ballots. And Lynn should know. Her background as an aerospace engineer means she understands the geek side of elections, from Russian hacking to hanging chads.

That in fact is what voters in Wake and Durham counties have been using for years. But that doesn’t mean that’s what the politicians like. Many of the other counties in North Carolina and around the US use machines that leave no paper trail, nothing that can be audited by hand. One of the fancier devices being considered for NC does print a paper result… with a bar code, not a name showing who the voter selected.

ACTION ITEM 1: Lynn recommends all voters visit the NC State Board of Elections web site and leave a comment: Please certify voting machines that use a hand marked paper ballot, no bar codes, and use risk limiting audits. (Note that Lynn says there should be a comment form on the web site. I didn’t see a comment form, but there is an email address).

ACTION ITEM 2: NCSBE will be voting on which systems to certify on August 23rd at 1pm in the Dobbs Building in Raleigh. Public comment will be allowed prior to the vote. Voters are encouraged to come and let the board know their preferences (for a hand-marked, paper ballot… right?).