N.C. County to Ask for More Time to Replace Voting Machines

With state-mandated deadlines looming, Guilford County officials are trying to delay the replacement of 1,400 touchscreen voting machines — a replacement slated to cost around $8 million.

by Taft Wireback, News & Record / March 22, 2019
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(TNS) — Guilford County leaders want more time to replace voting machines, a state-mandated project expected to cost about $8 million.

The Guilford County Board of Commissioners voted unanimously Thursday to ask the county’s legislative delegation to help it delay replacing the machines.

The county’s stock of about 1,400 touchscreen machines would cost about $8 million if they must be replaced immediately to comply with a state law that requires a different technology for counting votes.

Guilford is among counties that already have received one deferment from the law adopted in 2013.

County Elections Director Charlie Collicutt has said the existing machines have more useful life in them and the county would have to replace them without financial help from other branches of government.

The machines do not comply with the current law because their vote tallies are tabulated digitally rather than on paper.

Guilford machines do keep a paper record of each voter’s choices, which election officials can use if necessary to accurately track each voter’s choices on the ballot.

The law does allow touchscreen systems like the local machines as long as they produce paper ballots, as opposed to the paper scrolls emitted by the Guilford machines.

The resolution approved Thursday asks the various state legislators to support “deferment of Guilford County election voting machines” through action by the North Carolina General Assembly.

It also directs county staff to share the resolution “with other impacted counties so that they may adopt similar resolutions to forward to their respective delegations.”

©2019 the News & Record (Greensboro, N.C.) Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.