Mecklenburg County will likely be using new voting machines for the 2020 elections.
The top three choices were recently tested by county commissioners. County Commission Chairman George Dunlap said he received more than 100 emails from people outside the county letting him know the Mecklenburg County’s choice will affect the entire state.
Taxpayers will foot the approximately $10 million cost for the updated machines, and the neither change nor the cost of voting machines is being embraced by everyone on the commission.
Mecklenburg County Commissioner Trevor Fuller | Photo courtesy of Mecknc.gov
“Because the state legislature, in its wisdom – I use that term lightly – have required us to do this,” is how Mecklenburg County Commissioner Trevor Fuller described the impetus for making the switch.
Some of the machines previously under consideration were problematic because they were similar to the machines that miscounted votes in a Pennsylvania election. The North Carolina Board of Elections certified changes the machine company made after concerns were raised.
The new machines will require voters to choose a candidate using a touch screen. Voters will then take their printed ballots to a tabulator where it will be counted. It is that walk from the voting machine to the tabulator that Fuller questioned.
He asked if the distance between the machine and tabulator would be an opportunity for “intrusion,” but Michael Dickerson from the Mecklenburg Board of Elections did not see that as a cause for concern.
“It’s sort of like at the airport,” Dickerson said. “Keep an eye on your luggage.”