Ballot problems at polling places attributed to humidity

FILE A voter casts a ballot in the 2016 general election. Durham, N.C. Eamon Queeny, North State Journal

RALEIGH – Voters this morning have complained to the State and local board of elections about tabulators being unable to read ballots. The State Board of Elections and Ethics Enforcement said the reports are coming from some precincts in Wake County and other areas. Initial evidence indicates that high humidity is causing ballots to stick together.  County elections offices say they are keeping the ballots in “emergency bins” until they can be tabulated and says they are secure.

“The State Board wants to ensure voters that procedures are in place for these types of events,” read a press release sent by the NC State Board of Election this morning. “All ballots will be counted. The State Board office has advised county elections officials to work with their precinct officials to ensure voting areas are kept as cool and dry as possible by using air conditioning and keeping doors closed when possible.”

A voter casting a ballot at St. James Methodist Church in Raleigh said that representatives from the political group Democracy NC were there, wearing T-shirts printed with a phone number to report voting access problems.

“In the moment, everything about the experience felt wrong,” said the voter who did not want to be identified. “Other voters around me expressed that they weren’t confident their votes were being counted today.”

The State Board says that a series of post-election audits is performed after polls close, one of which compares the number of authorization-to-vote (ATV)” forms signed by voters with the number of ballots tabulated at each location. This audit ensures that the number of voters who present to vote matches the number of ballots counted.

Officials also announced the state board will meet Tuesday afternoon to consider the Columbus County Board of Elections’ request to extend voting hours at a precinct where workers didn’t have the correct ballot when polls opened.