Special to Iredell Free News
RALEIGH — The N.C. State Board of Elections and county boards of elections are responding to requests from Election Day voters about why their “voter history” records are not yet updated to reflect the fact that they voted on Election Day – November 8, 2022. Elections officials believe these requests are the direct result of certain groups spreading false and misleading information about this process in an attempt to sow distrust in our elections.
After every election, county boards of elections go through a labor-intensive process of recording in a public database who voted in the election and what method of voting they chose (e.g., absentee, early voting, Election Day). This is the process of assigning “Voter History” to voters’ records. Often, county boards are converting paper records from when voters checked in at their polling place into electronic database records. This process takes many days to complete, at a time when county boards are carrying out various other post-election tasks that are required for election results to be certified.
“If you inserted your paper ballot into a tabulator on Election Day, your vote was counted and reported as part of the unofficial results on election night,” said Karen Brinson Bell, executive director of the State Board of Elections. “Unfortunately, some groups are spreading misinformation about post-election processes and encouraging voters to contact election officials. When election officials spend time and resources responding to false information about elections, it takes time and resources away from completing required post-election tasks, including assigning voter history to voters’ records.
“We encourage all voters to seek information about elections from trusted sources, especially state and county elections officials. The processes we have in place comply with state and federal laws and have been in place for many years.”
Q & A
To counter the spread of misleading information, the State Board offers the following Q&A about the voter history process. Please also see How to Know Your Voted Counted in NC for additional information on how to know your vote counted, regardless of the voting method you used.
Q: What is voter history?
A: A voter’s “voter history” documents the voter’s participation in a given election. It has nothing to do with which candidates or choices the voter selected on their ballot, as that is confidential under law. Voter history merely shows when a voter voted, which county they voted in, and what method they used to vote (e.g., absentee versus Election Day in person). In primary elections, voter history also shows which party’s primary the voter participated in.
Q: How can I find my voter history?
A: You can find your voter history through the State Board of Elections’ Voter Search tool. Enter your first and last names as they would appear on your voter registration and click “Search.” From the resulting list, click on your name, which displays in blue type. Scroll down to the “Your Voter History” section.
Q: How do I know if the vote I cast on Election Day was counted?
A: If you voted in person, you inserted your ballot directly into a tabulator at your voting place. When you did this, the number of ballots cast on that machine increased by one. Your selections were recorded on a memory card in the tabulator, which had been tested for accuracy before the election. At the end of Election Day, the results stored on the memory card were added to results from other voting sites in your county, and those total results are displayed on the State Board’s Election Results Dashboard. Your vote was counted.
Q: Does when my voter history record gets updated affect whether my vote was counted?
A: No. When you inserted your ballot in the tabulator on Election Day, your selections were counted and ultimately reported on election night as part of the unofficial results. Your voter history record is updated after the election through an administrative process. This voter history process has no effect on the results of the election.
Q: If I vote on Election Day, how exactly does a county board of elections assign voter history to my record?
A: When you present to vote at your Election Day polling place, you sign an Authorization to Vote (ATV) form before you receive your ballot. After the election, the county board of elections uses this ATV form to assign voter history to your voter record in the state elections management system. This is a manual data entry process. Once voter history is complete, the State Board posts voter history information on its public website. And when a voter searches their registration record on the State Board’s website, the system displays their voter history.
This is also why assigning voter history to Election Day voters is not an immediate process.
Q: Why can it take a couple weeks or more after an election for county boards of elections to assign voter history to Election Day votes?
A: After every election, in a 10-day window, county board staffs must complete many post-election tasks, including researching provisional ballots, processing and counting absentee ballots of eligible voters that arrive after Election Day, conducting statutorily required audits and any necessary recounts, considering any election protests, and certifying results. Assigning voter history to your record is another one of these post-election processes. It is a manual process that takes time, especially in counties with many voters, limited staff, recounts to conduct, or election protests to consider.
Please be assured that your county board of elections will complete this process as promptly as possible. Your ballot status will show up in the “Voter History” section of your voter registration record as soon as your county board completes this process.
Q: Where can I find accurate information about elections?
A: The State Board of Elections’ website, ncsbe.gov, and your county board of elections are the best sources for accurate information about election processes in North Carolina.