As mentioned in this week’s Politica Weekly Email, Siobhan Millen was one of the Politicas observing the work of the Wake County Board of Elections as they worked through the 7000+ provisional ballots that were cast during this month’s Primary Election.  Here are her firsthand comments about what she observed.  Thanks, Siobhan, for sharing your experience with us.

“Basically, the action was in determining if provisional ballots would count or not. The elections staff took a first crack at each ballot, and recommended a little fewer than half, about 3600, be counted after the first pass. The board took up various categories of non-standard voters, from those with out-of-state or out of date ID’s to those whose ballots got put through the tabulator erroneously before they had filled in any ovals (who then voted a second, provisional ballot). These categories were dealt with generally, with samples of each examined by the board.

The really compelling discussions began with the examination of the reasonable impediment forms, in which voters check a box giving a reason why they could not obtain an ID.  Around 250 people filled these out in Wake County. A little less than half were recommended straight off for acceptance to be tabulated. Most of the remainder were recommended to be rejected for being illogical, denigrating of the law, etc. Twenty-four were passed to the board for discussion.

This is where it got tricky. Folks who signed the form, but didn’t give a reason for the impediment, had their ballots rejected. Folks who filled out the form but didn’t sign it got bounced. Folks who wrote “out of state student” as the reason, got bounced as not giving an acceptable reason. A ballot from a voter who listed “conscience” as his reason was bounced as intrinsically denigrating the law. All in all, seven were accepted and around 17 were rejected in these close cases.

The lone Democrat, Mark Ezzell, tried to sway some of these decision, but he was often overruled. In most cases, he voted to deny ballots as well, because the votes up for discussion tend to be the more egregious situations.
I would suggest that we, or Democracy NC or another organization, needs to produce a little push card about the need to stay with the listed reasons on the impediment form. So don’t give too much information, but don’t give too little. Remember to sign the form.”

Interesting seeing the sausage being made!

For further details, see a WRAL News report submitted by Mark Binker this past Thursday.

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