Editorial: Help keep elections safe and fair

Published 2:22 pm Wednesday, October 26, 2022

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Elections in North Carolina are safe.

That’s the message from the N.C. Board of Elections, and the Davie County Board of Elections.

While irregularities are found in just about any election, the state and county take numerous steps to see that those do not happen – and especially to see that when something does happen, it isn’t for a political reason.

Yes, people cheat. They often think it’s OK if they think they’re on the right side. But cheating during an election is not only illegal, it’s wrong. No matter what side you favor.

It’s OK to do your part to make sure elections are fair. It’s not your duty to try to undermine a fair election, or to cause problems so that election officials cannot do their job.

Election officials sent out the following notice.

“1. No evidence of successful attack: no election system or voting system in the state has ever been the target of a successful cyber attack.

2. Partnerships: Election officials are in regular contact and have strong and growing relationships with partners in federal and state governments, who assist with cyber and physical security, share information, plan for election events and respond to incidents.

3. Paper Ballots: Under state law all 100 counties use paper ballots, producing a paper trail which can be easily audited or recounted by federal law, ballot marking devices must be available at every polling place for any voter who needs or wishes to use one to mark a ballot.

4. Certified voting systems: all voting systems used in North Carolina are certified by the State Board of Elections after extensive testing and public demonstrations, and must be approved by County officials before purchase. Voting systems used in North Carolina must meet all applicable federal regulations governing voting systems and are certified, used, and audited in other states.

5. No internet or modems: by state law, voting machines may not be connected to the internet, limiting the possibility of cyber interference. No voting machine in North Carolina contains a modem or modem chip.

6. Logic and accuracy testing: Before every election, County Boards of Elections conduct logic and accuracy test on every voting machine that will be used in the election to ensure proper coding of ballots and counting of votes for every contest on the ballot.

7. Bipartisan, trained officials: Every polling place is staffed with bipartisan, trained officials from the local community who take an oath to uphold state election laws and work together to ensure election security. Bipartisan State and County Boards of Elections oversee all aspects of the elections bipartisan election observers also witness the voting process.

8. Post-election audits: after every election and before results are certified, the state and County Boards of Elections conduct multiple audits designed to detect irregularities, such as equipment tampering, ballot stuffing, and voting machine and tabulation errors. In the sample hand count audit, for example two voting sites are selected at random and every county, every ballot and those voting sites is counted by hand by bipartisan teams and the results are compared with the machine counted results. This audit helps confirm the accuracy of the machine counts.

9. Investigations division: North Carolina is one of the few states with a dedicated investigations division, which is staffed by experienced professionals who investigate reports of Fraud and other irregularities and refer cases to prosecutors when warranted by evidence.

10. Inform voters: Every voter can help promote election security by voting, checking their ballots before casting it, reporting problems with the voting process to pull workers in volunteering to work on elections. Also, voters should get information on Election from trusted sources particularly election officials, and verify information about elections before sharing it on social media. Election related misinformation is rampant.”

Yes, your vote counts. It is important.

Just remember, the vote of every other citizen in this country is just as important as yours.

– Mike Barnhardt