RALEIGH, N.C. — While misconceptions continue to circulate about the reliability of absentee/mail-in voting, the North Carolina State Board of Elections has released several reasons why the voting method is absolutely secure.
Even during the COVID-19 pandemic, election officials have worked to make sure that elections in the Tar Heel state are safe, accessible and accurate, no matter how citizens choose to vote.
Here are 12 reasons why absentee by-mail voting is a safe way to vote according to the state's Board of Elections:
- Election officials send ballots only to registered voters who request them using official request forms.
- The voter or their near relative must fill out and sign the request form. Required information includes the voter's date of birth and the voter's driver's license number or last four digits of their Social Security number.
- Fraudulently or falsely completing the form is a Class I felony.
- In 2020, voters must vote on their ballot in the presence of one witness. The witness must sign the absentee return envelope, certifying that the voter marked their ballot and is the registered voter submitting the ballot.
- Only the voter or their near relative or legal guardian may return the ballot. County boards of elections keep a log of who drops off absentee ballots.
- Upon return, the county board of elections reviews the absentee envelope to ensure compliance with the legal requirements.
- Once the ballot is accepted, that voter is marked in the system as having voted in that election. If that voter tries to vote in person, poll workers will know the person has already submitted an absentee ballot.
- Data on who has requested absentee ballots is now confidential until Election Day. This reduces the ability of third parties to attempt to tamper with ballots, as they will not know who has requested a ballot or when ballots are sent out.
- Criminal penalties have been increased for absentee voting fraud-related offenses.
- Many people are watching North Carolina’s absentee voting process, including candidates, political parties, county boards of elections, political and data scientists and the media. If there are anomalies or questionable activities, they will be reported to election officials.
- The State Board Investigations Division, which has a dedicated team of experienced investigators, investigates credible allegations of election fraud and refers cases to prosecutors when warranted by the evidence.
- The State Board conducts post-election audits which will catch inconsistencies which can then be investigated by the board or the Investigations Division.