Carolina Curious: What’s The Safest Way To Vote?
With primary season in full swing, WFDD listener Julie Coulter has voting security on her mind.
She asks, “Which is the safest way to vote to make sure that my vote is counted: early voting, absentee, or voting Election Day at my local precinct?”
WFDD’s David Ford set out for answers on this edition of Carolina Curious. He spoke with Catawba College political scientist Michael Bitzer.
On the upsides of early voting:
With absentee by mail ballots, you know, there's the concern about the ballot coming in, you filling it out correctly, and then mailing it back and making sure that that's all done within a proper amount of time.
If you go absentee one-stop or in-person voting, you basically just walk in, get your ballot, you fill it out, you turn it in and you're done just like you would do on Election Day. Now, the beauty of North Carolina is that all of this information about who is requesting absentee by mail and doing one-stop voting is publicly available. So, you can check on the North Carolina State Board of Elections website to see if indeed your ballot was submitted, it was accepted, and that ballot is basically part of the elections and the votes that will be tabulated on Election Day. North Carolinians have really taken to this in the general elections. In fact, in 2016, two thirds of all the ballots cast in the presidential election for November of 2016 came before Election Day.
On the concerns over election interference and ballot tampering:
I think certainly after the 2018 debacle with absentee by mail ballots in the North Carolina 9th Congressional District and the allegations of vote tampering by individuals, I think North Carolinians are much more concerned about that issue. Really, they shouldn't be, though, if they cast their ballots in person and then go on the North Carolina State Board of Elections website and can type in their name and see that indeed that ballot was submitted and accepted.
On the mood of North Carolina voters ahead of Super Tuesday:
I have been tracking the early votes in North Carolina for the March 3rd primary. And they're coming in, but at a kind of slow pace. And I think on the Democratic side, this is to be expected because the field is still so muddy. Yes, we've had two primaries and caucuses. We've got two more coming up before we cast our ballots on Super Tuesday. But I think for North Carolina Democrats and those unaffiliateds who want to vote in the Democratic primary, it really is a watch and see. So, I wouldn't be surprised if we saw the bulk of the ballots for March 3rd come in on Election Day.
EDITOR'S NOTE: This transcript was edited slightly for clarity.