Judge-Ordered Signs Not Up When Some Polls Open

11:52 AM, Nov 2, 2010   |    comments
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Greensboro, NC -- When polls opened Tuesday morning, some polling locations weren't displaying the "voter alert" signs ordered by a federal judge. 

A federal judge in North Carolina ruled Saturday that voters must be warned touch screen voting machines are sensitive and that poll workers would need to keep records of complaints about the machines during Tuesday's elections.

The signs warn about the sensitivity of touch screens, explain the summary page at the end of the ballot and instruct voters to talk to poll workers if they have problems. 

When the polls opened at 6:30 Tuesday morning, some polls didn't have all their signs in place, including the one at Irving Park United Methodist Church where The Good Morning Show reported live.

Johnnie McLean, the deputy director of the State Board of Elections, said a memo was sent to all 100 counties at 7:23 pm on Saturday after the judge's ruling. The memo included information about the ruling and the signs to be posted.

WEB EXTRA: See the memo

McLean acknowledged the timing of the judge's order and the workload of the local boards of election would make it "highly possible" the sign wouldn't be delivered to and posted at each polling place by the time the polls opened Tuesday morning.

"The desire would have been to have the signs available when the first voter appeared," McLean said, but wouldn't say it's a violation of the judge's order for the signs not to be posted at opening.

WFMY News 2 obtained a copy of the restraining order. It does not specifically indicate a time the signs must be posted. The order only requires the State Board of Elections get confirmation that each county received and understood the instructions.

WEB EXTRA: Voter Machine Restraining Order

Guilford County Board of Election Director George Gilbert blamed Tuesday morning's delays on the timing of the judge's ruling. He said it was up to precinct coordinators to deliver the signs to their 10 or 12 precincts on Election Day and that it "takes a little time" to do that.

Gilbert said the touch screens in Guilford County already have the same information contained in the alert posted on the machines.

The temporary order issued by Judge Malcolm Howard stemmed from a lawsuit filed by the state Republican Party against the State Board of Elections on Friday.

The GOP lawsuit alleges touch-screen machines were thwarting voters trying to cast early ballots for Republican candidates. Republican officials contend that during early voting, which ended Saturday, some voters saw machines switch their selections from GOP candidates to Democrats.

WFMY News 2 called Howard's office and a member of his staff said Howard declined to comment. A spokesman for the North Carolina Republican Party also had no immediate comment.

Related Links

-- What Can I Do To Make Sure My Vote Is Counted Correctly?

-- Judge: NC Voters Must Be Warned About Touch Screen Machines

WFMY News 2

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