Members of Forsyth County’s Republican Party have filed a formal protest after poll workers had trouble shutting down voting machines on election night earlier this month.

According to the filing, voting machines in all 108 precincts were set up to require an override code in order to shut down and tabulate results. That was a mistake — the code shouldn’t have been needed, and poll workers didn’t have it. 

The code, which also could be used to grant access to some administrative functions, was eventually given to them after about an hour. In the filing, protesters including Kenneth Raymond, the chair of the county’s GOP, said that amounted to a security breach. They claimed it’s “plausible” that data could have been tampered with during the delay in shutting down the machines. 

At a Board of Elections Meeting on Friday, Director Tim Tsujii admitted to the software mistake but said it didn’t affect the outcome of the election. He told members the code could not have been used to enter or change votes. 

“Observers were present at several of the polling places and were a witness to that situation on election night. As required for every election, precinct judges have to verify and sign the results tape and the chain of custody documents, which were all accounted for and have already been verified,” said Tsujii. “We had conducted the mandatory hand recount at two randomly selected precincts and those vote totals matched. So every process had been followed to ensure the security of this election.”

The protesters are asking for a “full forensic” examination of all the voting machines to ensure the code was not used improperly and that tabulators were not tampered with during the delay. 

The protest was filed on Friday.  The county board will meet on Wednesday to consider whether the claim meets the requirements. If it determines the claim has merit, a hearing will be called to assess the evidence.  

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