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Statewide tour aims to dispel election myths

May 3, 2022, Wake Bd of Elections - Absentee Ballot Processing.jpg
Rusty Jacobs
In this photo taken on May 3, 2022, members of the Wake County Board of Elections are processing absentee mail-in ballots cast by voters in the primaries.

A nonprofit dedicated to bolstering democracy worldwide has taken aim at myths and misinformation undermining faith in elections here in the U.S. The Carter Center, known for monitoring elections across the globe, has launched an initiative to address skepticism and questions among voters in battleground states, including North Carolina.

We want people to feel safe and secure when they go vote. We want them to know that their vote is going to be counted.
Jennifer Roberts, former Charlotte Mayor and consultant with The Carter Center

"If elections processes are more transparent, if more people know exactly how do you double check when someone does same-day registration, those kinds of questions, it does actually restore some faith in the process of voting and counting those votes," said Jennifer Roberts, former Charlotte mayor and one of the consultants hired by The Carter Center to help run the Trusted Elections Tour, in North Carolina.

"And that's really key," Roberts added, "because that's how we have the peaceful transfer of power, is the people speak up through their votes. We want people to feel safe and secure when they go vote. We want them to know that their vote is going to be counted."

Roberts is co-hosting the North Carolina tour with former State Supreme Court Justice Bob Orr, a one-time Republican who changed his registration to unaffiliated in the Trump era. The tour is a part of a pilot program set up by The Carter Center in North Carolina, Arizona, Michigan, Pennsylvania and Florida, according to Roberts.

In North Carolina, the tour features panels comprised of cyber-security experts, local elections officials and attorneys affiliated with both major parties. They are holding moderated town hall meetings in each of the state's 14 congressional districts, plus a statewide virtual session on Zoom scheduled for Monday, Sept. 19.

Roberts said the tour, conceived in response to the mistrust sowed by former President Donald Trump and his political allies around the 2020 election, gives curious voters and skeptics the chance to ask experts about the elections process. Ignorance of election procedures and certification can be — and has been — exploited by partisan actors to conjure conspiracies about virtually non-existent, coordinated acts of fraud.

"We know that precinct reporting sometimes takes time from certain precincts," said Roberts, "and we also know that the process doesn't end on election night."

Rusty Jacobs is a politics reporter for WUNC.
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