Overview of some problems in North Carolina
Voter intimidation and mistreatment:

  • Even before Election Day, early voting procedures generated controversy. In Mecklenburg county, the majority-Republican Board of Commissioners voted against accepting a $55,000 grant from the State Board of Elections to facilitate early voting on a Sunday, because they feared it would give partisan advantage to the Democrats.
  • Given that a number of black churches were known to be planning a ìSouls to the Pollsî effort after the service that Sunday, some observers claimed that the Commissionersí actions had a racist dimension.
  • On November 2, signs at certain precincts warned voters they had only five minutes to complete their ballots. There is no legal time limit for completing ballots.
  • In Mecklenburg County, voters whose names were not on the voter rolls were not given provisional ballots when they should have been. One voter was escorted out of a polling place, rather than being given a provisional ballot, because he was not on the voting list.
  • Students in Winston-Salem were turned away from polling places after being told that their university issued IDs were not valid forms of identification.

Vote counting problems:

  • The biggest failure occurred when over 4000 votes were ìlostî without any hope of recovery in Carteret county, after the company responsible for providing the voting machines led local officials to believe they could store more votes than was in fact the case.
  • In Yadkin, Mecklenburg and Craven Counties, machine problems meant that ballots were thousands of counted twice, although the problem was later corrected.
  • The vote tabulation machine used in Guilford County had memory capacity problems, which led it initially to ignore 6,000 to 20,000 ballots. This problem was also corrected.
  • Officials in Gaston County took six days to realize that they had failed to count 90% of early and absentee ballots, along with all ballots from one entire precinct.
  • A problem with ballot-counting software in Onslow County led to incorrect vote totals being recorded. Redoing the count changed the order in which the top five vote getters finished, although it did not affect who won election.
  • One of the electronic voting machines in Pender County broke down and the votes that it had recorded had to be totaled manually. In another precinct, a poll-worker error affecting voting machines led the county board of elections to keep polls open one hour longer than expected.
Recent Articles
October 19th 2009
A better election system
Lowell Sun

Election expert Doug Amy explains how choice voting can "inject new blood" into the elections of Lowell (MA), and give voters a greater incentive to participate.

October 16th 2009
Haven't Detroit voters spoken enough?
Livingston Daily

In Detroit, there have been three mayors in the past two years and the current one has come under scrutiny. Perhaps a system like instant runoff voting will help bring political stability to motor city.

August 21st 2009
Black candidate for Euclid school board to test new voting system
Cleveland Plain Dealer

Limited voting, a form of proportional voting, will be used in Euclid (OH), in the hopes of allowing better representation of minorities.

July 2nd 2009
Reforming Albany
New York Times

FairVote's Rob Richie responds in a letter to the editor making the case for proportional voting systems to bring substantive reform to New York's legislature.