Special to Iredell Free News

RALEIGH — As a statewide recount for a North Carolina Supreme Court contest begins across the state, all 100 county boards of elections recently completed hand-to-eye audits for the 2020 general election, an important step in confirming accurate election results.

Pursuant to state law, the bipartisan county boards conduct a hand-to-eye audit of ballots from randomly selected voting groups. In a presidential election like 2020, the audited contest is always the president of the United States.

The audit is a comparison of the machine counts of ballots with hand-to-eye counts to ensure voting equipment recorded voters’ choices accurately. The voting systems and software of two companies – ES&S and Hart InterCivic – are certified for use in North Carolina. All counties use voting equipment from one of those companies.

Statewide, more than 150 Election Day precincts and 30 early voting sites were audited. Also, more than a dozen counties conducted a hand-to-eye audit of all mail-in absentee ballots.

Of the 200 voting groups audited, only 13 audits found any difference between the machine count and the human count, and all discrepancies were three votes or fewer. Most differences were attributed to human error, such as a voter marking outside of the bubble, or to human error during the hand count itself.

“We are glad to see that no significant issues were found during the audit,” said Karen Brinson Bell, executive director of the State Board of Elections. “This successful audit is a testament to our elections officials and to the elections equipment used throughout the state. North Carolinians can be confident that their votes count.”

The State Board of Elections office conducts a series of post-election audits and investigations, where necessary, to ensure the integrity of election results. For more information on election security and audits, visit Post-Election Procedures and Audits.

The State Board will certify statewide results for most federal, statewide, multi-district and judicial contests during the state canvass at 11 a.m. Tuesday, November 24. Results in each contest are not considered official until certified by the State Board.

After state canvass, the board of elections with jurisdiction over each contest will issue a certificate of election to the prevailing candidate.

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