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North Carolina Group Asks Judge To Stop Touch-Screen Voting

A picture of people in voting booths
Joe Shlabotnik
Flickr Creative Commons

The North Carolina NAACP has asked a judge to bar the use of a touch-screen voting machine in several counties due to what it says are heightened risks associated with using them during the coronavirus pandemic.

The request made to a Wake County judge Wednesday says the ExpressVote machines create “unique and substantial risks to the lives and health of voters” because they will be touched by many people, The Charlotte Observer quotes the request as saying.

The request comes more than three months after the group filed a lawsuit against the State Board of Elections and county election boards seeking to stop the use of the machines. The state attorney general’s office asked a judge to dismiss that lawsuit, the Observer reported.

About 20 of North Carolina’s 100 counties have the machines. The group said these counties “are forcing voters to choose between their right to vote, their health and potentially their lives.”

There are other options for voting, including switching to paper ballots or buying machines that don’t require voters to touch screens, Courtney Hostetler, an attorney for the group, told the newspaper Wednesday.

Election officials have been instructed about cleaning the machines and will be asking voters and workers to wear masks and practice social distancing at polling sites, Karen Brinson Bell, the director for the state board of elections, said in a motion filed to dismiss the group's earlier lawsuit.

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