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Mecklenburg County election officials working on ‘plan B’ amid voting concerns

Updated: Dec. 11, 2019 at 2:20 PM EST
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CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - There is work being done now to make sure you don’t see any hiccups at the voting polls during the 2020 Presidential elections.

New touch screen voting machines were on the way to Charlotte, but that’s now paused after those machines had reports of programming problems and miscounted votes when used in Pennsylvania.

The director of elections for Mecklenburg County says ES&S, the company that makes the new voting machines, are trying to make necessary modifications now. They want things to run flawlessly in 2020. But if it’s not smooth, officials say they do have a plan B.

Where there could be voting problems, Mecklenburg County Board of Elections officials say they are working on a solution.

“That works out better than having no option at all,” said Michael Dickerson, the director of elections for Mecklenburg County.

Dickerson says if the new touch screen voting machines fail, the plan is to have voters cast ballots using the old machines - the same ones used in the last election. Dickerson says that Plan B is just an idea right now – he’s taking it to state officials to make sure it’s okay.

“Play the cards you’re dealt,” Dickerson added.

Some people have been against these new machines from the get-go.

“The minute that you put a computer between a voter and her ballot. You’re asking for trouble. You’re asking for hacking, you’re asking for computer errors and you’re asking for voter errors," said Marilyn Marks of Coalition of Good Governance.

The group focuses on election security. Marks says Mecklenburg County should just stick to the traditional way of hand-marked paper ballots, counted by a scanner.

“There are plenty of units available its easy to do and they are far less expensive than what Charlotte wants to do,” said Marks.

Either way, a decision should be made soon because there’s not much time left. Ballots must be mailed out for presidential preference primary by January.

“We’re cutting it pretty razor-thin right now, so I want to have everything ready to go for the voters and that’s my goal," said Dickerson.

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