NC Board of Elections needs to fix website problems immediately

May 7, 2014 

The North Carolina Board of Elections does not enjoy a margin of error. Its handling of elections is critical to the exercise of democracy.

And this board, in Republican control, is charged after all with running a voting process changed by the GOP, eventually requiring voter ID and operating without as many early voting days and without same-day registration. The changes are an obvious attempt to curb voting by those more likely to vote Democratic.

The least they could do is run the system as it exists with efficiency. Tuesday’s election was not a confidence-builder. The board’s website had numerous problems, with vote totals vanishing on occasion and precinct information being incorrect. And some voters complained they had trouble getting to their polling places.

The outcome of some races may be in doubt, but there’s no doubt about the outcome of this test for the state board. It’s an “F,” which was echoed by Catawba College professor Michael Bitzer, who in a television interview proclaimed the problems an “epic failure.”

Now the board owes the people of North Carolina an explanation of what happened and how it happened, and it must fix the problems immediately, period. If the board and its staff cannot accomplish this, a house must be cleaned. This was an inexcusable problem and rattles the public’s confidence in the system.

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