The State Board of Elections voted unanimously on Tuesday to finalize results of the July 26 elections, held in about 15 N.C. counties.
The State Board also voted unanimously to approve proposed temporary rule amendments governing the conduct of precinct officials and election observers at polling places. These proposed rules will be submitted to the Rules Review Commission for consideration.
The state authentication of the July 26 election came after the county boards of elections recently certified results and after post-election audits did not detect any irregularities in the vote counts.
The sample hand-to-eye audit, for example, checks the results as counted by certified machines against a hand-count of randomly selected groups of ballots by bipartisan teams at each county board of elections.
Of the 26 samples chosen for the July 26 election, only one slight difference was found between machine counts and the human count. The difference was attributed to human error. In other words, in 25 of 26 samples, the hand and machine counts were the same.
“Once again, the county boards of elections did a fantastic job in this latest election, providing secure, accessible, and fair elections for their voters,” said Karen Brinson Bell, executive director of the State Board of Elections. “Now, we must turn our attention to preparing for the November 8 general election.”
State Board Approves Temporary Rule Amendments
The Board also voted unanimously to approve temporary rule amendments related to the conduct of precinct officials and election observers at voting sites. The 5-0 vote included two changes offered by Board Member Stacy “Four” Eggers IV. The proposed temporary rules now go to the Rules Review Commission for consideration for adoption ahead of the November 8 general election.
See the text of the proposed temporary rules, as approved by the State Board:
After the May 2022 primary, dozens of county elections directors shared their recent experiences with election observers, who are appointed by political parties to watch the voting process from inside polling places.
County officials documented instances in which partisan observers were disruptive to the orderly conduct of voting – posting materials at the voting place, questioning poll workers carrying out their duties, repeatedly coming and going in and out of the voting enclosure, talking to voters in the voting enclosure (including discussing political issues), attempting to go into the ballot-marking area or behind voting equipment, interfering with voters submitting their voted ballots into the tabulator, asking to photograph voter forms with confidential information on them, following poll workers to their cars and filming them after they had closed the polls, and, in one incident, getting into a confrontation with a voter.
“We have no indication that these sorts of behaviors are routine in every county, and we have every reason to believe that most partisan observers are conducting themselves with dignity and are following the directions of county boards and chief judges,” said Paul Cox, State Board Associate General Counsel. “But, of course, we want to avoid any disruptive issues going forward, especially given how these incidents seem to have recently surfaced in significant enough numbers to cause our county directors concern.”
County Board Appointments
In other business, the Board appointed Felita Regina Donnell as a Democratic member of the Guilford County Board of Elections; Trudy Jane Schmidt as a Republican member of the Haywood County Board of Elections, and Kevin Scott Jones as a Republican member of Perquimans County Board of Elections.