Elections officials in states where all voters vote by mail have cautioned against trying to switch to all-mail voting overnight. It takes years to change laws, purchase high-speed equipment to count by-mail ballots, train new workers to process ballots and ensure security of the ballots at every step. In-person voting remains even in states that use all-mail voting to allow voters with disabilities or accessibility needs to receive assistance.
In March 2020, the State Board office provided recommendations for legislative changes to make by-mail voting simpler and more accessible, assist in poll worker recruitment, and ensure funding is available for changes in election processes resulting from COVID-19.
The State Board has a dedicated webpage, NCSBE.gov/Coronavirus, where voters can find up-to-date information about elections during the pandemic.
The North Carolina Task Force on Elections and COVID-19 Response first met in March 2020. Made up of state and county elections officials and an Emergency Management representative, the group is providing advice on steps necessary to respond to the pandemic and ensure voting is safe and accessible in 2020.
Elections officials are in regular contact with state and federal health and emergency management officials to ensure proper sanitation and safeguards are in place to protect against the spread of the virus during elections.
The federal CARES Act of 2020 will provide nearly $13.1 million to North Carolina to address elections-related issues arising from the pandemic, provided that the state provides $2.2 million in matching funds. The money will be used to help the 100 counties conduct elections during the pandemic.
Elections officials encourage teachers, students and younger North Carolinians to serve their communities and democracy as poll workers in 2020. We need the public’s help to make elections safe and accessible – now more than ever.