North Carolina Elections Results Garbled Amid Website Glitches

The N.C. Board of Elections website has been dubbed an "epic failure" according to one political science expert.

by Steve Harrison, McClatchy News Service / May 7, 2014

Election returns from Tuesday’s primary were marred by numerous glitches with the N.C. Board of Elections website, with vote totals sometimes vanishing intermittently.

The problem began shortly after polls closed at 7:30 p.m.

The first results posted on the state’s website showed that all precincts were in, even though the first returns were only for early voting and absentee ballots.

At one point Tuesday night, the listing of precincts in which vote totals were complete vanished from the website.

Michael Bitzer, a professor of political science at Catawba College, told News Channel 14 Tuesday that the problems were an “epic failure.”

Josh Lawson, a spokesman for the State Board of Elections, said the initial display of precincts reporting on the board’s website incorrectly included numbers for absentee ballots, causing the number of precincts reported to be inflated.

The Mecklenburg Board of Elections results were toggled with the state’s website, even for local races that took place just inside the county.

Mecklenburg elections supervisor Michael Dickerson said Tuesday night there was a problem with the state office in Raleigh. Shortly before 11 p.m., the state’s website showed that all precincts in Mecklenburg had been counted.

Dickerson, however, e-mailed the Observer with files of his own final vote counts that he said should be relied on.

Tuesday’s primary was North Carolina’s first election under the state’s new controversial voting law, which will require photo IDs starting in 2016.

At polling places Tuesday, precinct workers asked voters whether they had a government-issued photo ID. If they said they didn’t, they were asked to sign a statement acknowledging they will need one to vote in 2016. They were also given information on how to obtain a state-approved ID.

Other provisions of the law were in effect Tuesday.

In the past, voters who came to the wrong precinct were allowed to cast a provisional ballot. Provisional ballots will now only count if they are cast in the precinct where a voter lives and is registered.

In addition, same-day registration during early voting was stopped, starting with this primary. The number of early-voting days was also reduced, from 17 to 10 days.

©2014 The Charlotte Observer (Charlotte, N.C.)