Board of Elections
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We use paper ballots. All voting systems used in North Carolina must use paper ballots, producing a paper trail that can be recounted and audited. Every voter in all 100 counties will cast a paper ballot.
We have a Certified voting system. All voting machines used in North Carolina are certified by the U.S. Election Assistance Commission after testing by certified laboratories. They are also certified by the State Board of Elections after additional testing. All systems certified in North Carolina are certified, used and audited in other states.
Voting machines cannot access the Internet. By state law, voting machines may not be connected to the internet, limiting the possibility of cyber interference.
Logic and accuracy testing is done prior to every election. Before every election, county boards of elections conduct logic and accuracy tests on every voting machine that will be used to ensure proper coding of ballots and counting of votes for every contest on the ballot.
Bipartisan, trained officials are in every polling location. These trained officials from the local community who take an oath to uphold state elections laws and work together to ensure election security. Bipartisan State and County Boards of Elections oversee all aspects of elections. Click here for more information on becoming a pollworker.
Election night results are always unofficial. In the days that follow the election, election officials will ensure every eligible ballot is counted. Click here to learn how to confirm your vote was counted. They will audit and certify the results. This is a regular process after each election and is referred to as canvass.
Canvass occurs after every election. Canvass is the entire process of ensuring votes have been counted correctly and required audits have been completed, culminating in the certification of results during meetings of every county board of elections. By law, these meetings will be held at 11 a.m. 10 days after every election. Next pursuant to state law, the State Board of Elections meets at to finalize the results. N.C.G.S. § 163-182.5.
All Eligible Ballots Must Be Counted. County boards of elections must count absentee by-mail ballots postmarked on or before Election Day that arrive in the mail by 5 p.m. the Friday after every election. Ballots from military and overseas voters received by 5 p.m. the day before canvass will also be counted, as required by state law. N.C.G.S. § 163-258.12. During the post-election period, county boards also conduct research to determine whether to wholly or partially count provisional ballots. All eligible provisional ballots are counted during the canvass process. N.C.G.S. § 163-182.2. The post-election period ensures that the ballots of eligible voters will be counted as long as they meet statutory deadlines and comply with all other laws. This allows more eligible voters to lawfully exercise their right to vote.
Results Must Be Audited. After each election, the State Board randomly selects two precincts in every county, where paper ballots must be counted by hand for the highest contest on the ballot and compared with the tabulated results. Called the “sample hand-to-eye count,” this audit recounts the ballots in the random precincts to ensure reliability of machine-tabulated results. Bipartisan teams at county boards of elections conduct these audits prior to canvass. The State Board of Elections conducts additional audits to verify the accuracy of the count. The results of all audits are submitted to the State Board as part of the final certification of the election. For more information, see the Post-Election Procedures and Audits webpage.
Elections Officials Do Not “Call” Elections. The state and county boards of elections have do not “call” or project a race for any candidate. Projections are made by media and/or candidates using unofficial results, typically based on the vote difference and the number of votes yet to be counted in a contest. In some cases, the trailing candidates “conceded” when they realized they could not make up the vote differential with the ballots still uncounted.
Every voter can help promote election security by voting, checking their ballot before casting it, reporting problems with the voting process to poll workers and volunteering to work in elections.
Also, voters should get information on elections from trusted sources, particularly elections officials, and verify information about elections before sharing it on social media.
For more information on election security, click here.