The certification of North Carolina election results follows a careful process ^ North Carolina

Four Wayne County circuit judges — two Republicans, two Democrats — work side by side, sorting and counting ballots from two randomly chosen counties. The goal is to match the number of votes for each candidate in a top-flight contest—in this case, the race for the US Senate—to the result tape output by the polling station tab.

This is part of the statutory procedure known as the district election. Following the election, the State Board of Elections will meet to formally approve the Midterms results. This year, the state certification meeting will take place on November 29th. instead of.

Each of North Carolina’s 100 counties went through a similar process that led to voting: hand-to-eye spot checks, approval of preliminary ballot applications, and the final count of mail-in votes.

Voters should have “110% confidence in our electoral process”.

Wake County poll workers, staff and district judges gathered to conduct a mock poll and prepare absentee ballots for counting - part of the constituency election, the final count of votes for the 2022 midterm election.jpg
On November 17, 2022, Wayne County election officials—bipartisan teams of district judges and board officials—convened to review and count mail-in ballots leading up to the county’s election, the final count of votes for this year’s midterm elections.

With more than 800,000 registered voters, Wake County is significantly larger than Wayne County, which has more than 75,000 registered voters and therefore requires a much larger operation for its by-election testing. In Wake, more than 100 poll workers, board officials and district judges filled a cavernous space that gathered to sort and count the ballots.

Wake County poll workers wore orange, fluorescent yellow, or black safety vests, depending on their role or status. It was almost like a baggage handlers conference. Postal ballot flattening and hand-eye checking was done with mechanical efficiency.

At two tables, bipartisan teams of district judges passed Election Day ballots from right to left, sorting them by the first name of the candidate in the US Senate race, which Republican Ted Budd won.

One of the district judges was Rose Wunder, a registered Democrat and an election worker since 2012.

“I worked at the application table, early voting. I’ve worked at the help table, on the side of the road, in different positions,” she said.

“If people understood all the work that goes on behind the scenes,” Wunder added, “they would have complete, 110 percent confidence in our election process here in Wake County.”

His counterpart and scrutineer Michael Trowbridge, a registered Republican, shares Wunder’s respect for the meticulous conduct of the elections. Trowbridge has been working on the polls since retiring from IBM in 2018.

“There’s so much to process and check and check the exam and have multiple eyes on,” he said.

Sampling of ballots in Wake County on November 17, 2022 - bipartisan team of district judges sorting ballots for Election Day.jpg
Steven Schaale (left), a Republican, and Jeanne Becker-Young (right), a Democrat, on November 17, 2022. They volunteered to take polls on Election Day and during early voting and were part of a bipartisan team , which performed a hand-to-eye audit of ballots as part of Wake County election advertising.

A Republican voter praises the transparency of the county election

And it’s not just county workers who have faith in the voting system.

Iris Kilpatrick, a registered Republican, came out to observe the ballot scrutiny on Election Day in Wayne County on November 14, 2022 (2).jpg
Iris Kilpatrick, a registered Republican and longtime Wayne County resident, came out on November 14, 2022 to observe the scrutiny of the random ballot at the local election commission in Goldsboro.

Iris Kilpatrick, a registered Republican voter and longtime Wayne County resident, was the only other non-board member, staff member, or campaign worker—besides me—to observe the county election.

She said she did so on behalf of a conservative activist group called Liberty First.

“Well, I just think the general public should be involved, I think citizens should be concerned and I don’t think there’s enough of that,” Kilpatrick said.

Kilpatrick does not count herself among the voting deniers and skeptics in Republican and far-right circles, although she said there are such conspiracy theorists in her group.

She said she will report to them that the process she witnessed was transparent and reliable.

And does Kilpatrick think it will make a difference for those who tend to distrust the system?

“I don’t know, but I hope so,” she replied.

The skepticism remains

Two Wake County poll workers prepare to run mail-in ballots through a high-speed tabulator on November 17, 2022 -- part of the final vote count known as County Canvass.jpg
Wake County Board of Elections employees prepare to run verified and approved mail-in ballots through a high-speed scanner on November 17, 2022. The absentee ballots were counted as part of the final count of votes from the 2022 midterm elections.

There are still skeptics out there peddling untruths and misconceptions about elections.

According to Pat Gannon, spokesman for the North Carolina State Board of Elections, since Election Day his office and local boards have had to deal with dozens of emails sent by a group of refusers who wanted to know why their voting history was in the state Board’s website does not reflect the votes cast during this year’s Midterms.

Keith Weatherly (R) and Gerry Cohen (D), members of the Wake County Board of Elections, L to R, examine mail-in ballot envelopes on November 17, 2022.jpg
Wake County Board of Elections members Keith Weatherly (left), a Republican, and Gerry Cohen (right), a Democrat, examine absentee ballot envelopes on Nov. 17, 2022 to ensure they are properly notarized or contain the necessary witness certificates .

“If you vote in person, your vote will be counted when you tab it at your polling station,” Gannon said in a phone interview.

Updating voter history is a separate process administered by county boards after each election that records the fact that you voted in a particular election cycle.

“It’s an administrative procedure and has nothing to do with whether or not your vote was counted,” he said.

Gannon added that it can sometimes take up to a few weeks to update a voter history due to recounts, judging election protests, or counting preliminary ballots.

Gannon said it was unfortunate that despite a largely successful election conducted by dedicated public officials and volunteers, with 3.5 million votes cast safely, a small but very vocal group of people are still trying to cast distrust in a working system to sow.

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