Cary mom helps convince Board of Elections to reconsider vote on voting machines

Josh Chapin Image
Friday, August 2, 2019
Voting machines and certifications under heavy debate
Voting machines and certifications under heavy debate

CARY, N.C. (WTVD) -- Lynn Bernstein has worked at polling places in Wake County. Ever since, she's been concerned about automated voting machines.

"I hope we set an example for the rest of the country because we do have to worry about cyber security," said Bernstein, of Cary, who used to be an aerospace engineer. "Hand-marked paper ballots are the gold standard and what the board is doing is allowing counties to essentially have the best: it allows North Carolina to run the most secure elections in the United States."

She was one of the people who came out Sunday night to a scheduled meeting and eventually helped convince the State Board of Elections to modify the certification program.

In other words, Bernstein wants voters to be able to see for themselves exactly what they feed into the voting machines and not have a bar code stand in for the ballot.

The State Board of Elections was supposed to pick between three vendors to supply new technology to replace the aging touch-screen machines that about a third of the state uses. The equipment cannot be used in the 2020 elections.

"They didn't design a very good system," said Bernstein, referring to Election System & Software. "If it doesn't have a human readable mark, then a voter can't verify it and the statute does say that a voter must be able to correct any discrepancy on their ballot before they submit it."

The board voted 3-2 in favor of the amendment to modify the certification program.

"Voter confidence is really down and people want to be able to verify that what they put into the box is what they intended to go in it," said Jeff Carmon, a board member.

This is the third time in two months that the board has delayed its conversation on certifying new voting machines.

Nearly 30 counties use the electronic machines or about 2.4 million people.

The rules haven't changed just yet -- it just sets up another meeting to do so after a 15-day public notice period goes by.