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Many accusations were spread after the 2020 Presidential election as to whether ballots cast were properly accounted for as the votes were tallied.

Legal challenges were filed across the country and vote recounts undertaken as then-President Donald Trump made unfounded allegations of voting fraud and irregularities.

The Department of Homeland Security’s Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency responded to the concerns on November 13, 2020, calling the Nov. 3rd, 2020 election “the most secure in American history.”

Almost all of the legal challenges filed by Trump and his allies contesting the election have since been dismissed. In early 2021, the U.S. Supreme Court rejected cases relating to the 2020 election involving disputes filed by former President Trump in Arizona, Georgia, Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin, all states President Joe Biden won.

Still, with all the confusion, people may be wondering whether votes cast in the upcoming midterm elections are safe.

The answer, according to political experts, is yes, that thanks to safeguards in place, everyone’s vote will be properly counted.

“There’s certainly been lots of attention to voter security driven by politicians, driven by misinformation, and driven by attempts to counteract that misinformation,” says Eric Heberlig, Professor of Political Science at UNC Charlotte. “But people can know their vote is safe because there are processes in North Carolina, and every other state, that involve members of both political parties overseeing the casting and counting of ballots.”

Every county in North Carolina has a five-person Board of Elections, four of whom are appointed every two years by the N.C. State Board of Elections and one by the N.C. Governor. These boards conduct elections in their respective counties and administer state election laws.

Currently, the Mecklenburg County Board of Elections includes two Republicans, and three Democrats.

A record is kept of every voter who casts a ballot, says Michael Bitzer, Professor of Politics and History for Catawba College. That record, which is public information, shows when and where a person voted, such as the date and the precinct, but it does not share information about the voter’s choices.

Because so much confusion has arisen regarding election integrity, The Carter Center in Atlanta this year sponsored a new initiative in four states, including North Carolina, to educate voters about the strength and health of the state’s electoral system.

In North Carolina, the initiative is known as the North Carolina Network for Fair, Safe and Secure Elections. Recently, the group traveled the state holding town halls and providing speakers who addressed different aspects of elections, including cyber security, technological integrity and election law. (Learn about the tour and speakers here.) The group is lead by Robert Orr, a former Republican state Supreme Court justice, and Jennifer Roberts, Charlotte’s former Democratic mayor.

Bitzer serves as a member of the advisory board for the North Carolina Network for Fair, Safe and Secure Elections. He said the group comprises people representing all sides of the political spectrum.

“I certainly think that with all the questions raised, the average voter in North Carolina can certainly ask questions about the process,” Bitzer says. “The voting process has always been safe and secure. But if you are asking the question, ‘Can I trust the system? Can I have confidence that my vote will be counted correctly?’ The answer is yes.”

The North Carolina State Board of Elections has information about voting integrity and how elections are secured on its website

(Sidebar – Source: NC State Board of Elections website

5 facts about election security in NC

1. No North Carolina election system or voting system has been victim of a successful cyberattack.

2. State law requires every county produce a paper trail of every ballot that can be easily audited and recounted.

3. All voting systems used in North Carolina are certified by the State Board of Election and undergo extensive testing and public demonstrations. 

4. State law prohibits voting machines from being connected to to internet. No voting machine contains a modem or modem chip.

5. Every polling place is staffed with bipartisan, trained officials who take an oath to uphold state elections laws. Bipartisan election observers are on site witnessing the voting process.

QCity Metro believes that democracy Matters.

For much of 2022, our reporters and editors have taken part in a nationwide fellowship called Democracy SOS, which encourages newsrooms to reimagine how they cover elections, with a goal to build civic engagement, equity and healthy discourse.

QCity Metro is an independent, Charlotte-based media company. We do not endorse candidates or accept money for political ads.

What are the issues that matter most as your prepare to vote in this key election? And what related questions can our QCity Metro reporters help answer?

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