We are less than two weeks away from the US election, and we’re still seeing legal wrangling over procedures in multiple states.
Jonathan Drew and Brian Anderson have been researching this process North Carolina For the Associated Press, and found time is running out for thousands of voters to fix absentee voting errors.
Court battles had halted processing mailed ballot papers with deficiencies from October 4 until the state issued a new directive on Monday. State and federal judges temporarily froze key parts of the process amid lawsuits over what to do with ballot papers that lack witness signature and other information.
State and county officials said, many of them are working late at night It would take several days to inform at least 10,000 voters who cast their problematic votes.
The uneven scene emerged the day after the new rules were announced: Some provinces said they had ended all backlog, but some voters elsewhere said they had not been contacted yet.
In Durham, 24-year-old unaffiliated voter Stefan Prieto was surprised Tuesday afternoon when a reporter told her that her ballot had been marked as containing incomplete witness information. The state database did not clarify what exactly was missing, but if its ballot lacks the signature of a witness, it will have to make another signature.
“It’s kind of anxious,” she said of the possibility of getting a new ballot and casting it so close to the election.
Prieto, a part-time home health aide who voted for Joe Biden, said her mother witnessed her vote, and mailed it on October 6.
“She was right next to me,” Prieto said of filling out the ballot. “I signed it, and you know, we filled it all up. It should have been fine.”
The Durham County Director of Elections did not respond to an email to the Associated Press requesting comment.
The North Carolina Board of Elections said that as of Monday, nearly 10,000 statewide ballots had various shortcomings. But this number could be higher because counties have instructed not to enter ballots with errors in a statewide database while the missing ballot is frozen. During the two-week freeze, voters were not contacted about poll errors.
It will take several days for counties to enter the deficient ballot accumulation in the system to provide a complete picture of the statewide vote count, CEO Karen Brinson Bell said. However, Bell said she hopes that by early next week, “these voters should be on hand and be able to bring it back to us.”
Until Tuesday afternoon, More than 2 million early votes were cast in North Carolina, including more than 600,000 by mail.
State law requires absentee voters to see another adult on the ballot and to sign and stamp their name on the outer envelope. A federal judge last week ruled that absentee ballots without a witness’s signature require the voter to repeat the process and watch it again.
Repeated absentee ballots can be mailed or returned by hand to county election boards or early polling sites. Or, these people could also vote in person instead.
Meanwhile, the federal appeals court Tuesday night ruled that North Carolina can accept absentee ballots that are postmarked by Election Day for more than a week after that.. The ruling on November 12, the deadline for the ballot papers to reach county councils, came from the same legal dispute over witness requirements.
And North Carolina won Donald Trump 2016 by 3.66%, and one of the battlefields will stipulate this Joe Biden Aim for victory on November 3rd.