State election officials say they’re taking steps to avoid some problems seen during November’s election by improving procedures for publishing vote counts and removing active felons from voter rolls. State Board of Elections executive director Kim Strach provided her post-election report to an N.C. House committee Thursday, highlighting some of the upgrades in the works. One Election Night problem was the late counting of early votes in Durham County. Because of difficulties reading the memory cards on voting machines, the county didn’t add early voting totals to online records until nearly midnight – even though the state’s website indicated that most of the county was finished reporting totals.
That prompted some confusion and suspicion, because the late addition meant that the vote totals in the governor’s race abruptly went from showing a lead for incumbent Pat McCrory to a slight lead for Democratic challenger Roy Cooper. McCrory later requested and obtained a recount in Durham County, which showed the initial results were accurate.
Strach told legislators that Durham officials handled the problems effectively, but the state’s election-results website failed to make clear to the public that the tallies were incomplete.
“We needed to have a process change,” Strach said. “If those early voting numbers are not in there, we need to let you know that. That’s an improvement that you will see next time we have an election.”