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League of Women Voters

North Carolina15

The voting systems used in North Carolina are optical scan, DRE, and hand-counted paper ballots.

Optical Scanning: With this system, you will recieve a card or sheet of paper, which you take over to a private table or booth. The card has the names of the various candidates and ballot measures printed on it. With a pen or pencil you fill in a little box or circle or the space between two arrows. In some places, you can check your card or paper right there at the polling place by feeding it into a card-reading machine to make sure you have voted the way you want to. When you are finished filling out all the cards. You may bring the cards over to a ballot box, where poll workers will show you how to put the cards in the box. Or in some places, you may feed the completed cards or papers into a computer device that counts the votes. When Election Day is over, the computer counts how many votes were cast for each candidate.

Direct Recording Electronic (DRE) : This is the newest kind of system in use in the US. All the information about who and what you are voting for is on an electronic screen, like a TV or computer screen. The poll workers will give you a card that you slide into a device to start your voting session. These devices will show all of the candidates and ballot choices on one big screen. Often, with these bigscreen devices you push a button next to the name of the candidate you want to votefor (or yes or no on a ballot measure). On each screen or page, there will probably be one thing to vote on. For example, on one screen or page, you might vote for president. Then you might move to the next page to vote for senator. Often these small-screen devices have a touch screen, where you touch the screen next to the name of the person you want to vote for. Some of these machinese have a key pad, and/ or have a keyboard, so you can write in the name of someone you want to vote for. You let the system know you are finished voting by pushing a button, touching the screen or entering something on a keypad. The votes are stored on a computer device like a disk or a cartridge. At the end of the day, results from the disk or cartridge can be printed and read at the polling place or transferred to a central location.

Paper Ballots: Paper ballots are one of the oldest ways of voting in America. They are still used on Election Day. Paper ballots are mostly used for absentee ballots. When you come to the polling place, you will get a paper ballot from the poll worker. You take it to the voting booth, and use a pen or pencil to mark a box next to your candidate and issue choices. You then drop the marked ballot into a sealed ballot box. At the end of the day, votes are counted by poll workers reading the ballots.

You can learn more about voting systems by checking out the Elections Assistance Elections Assistance Commission's (EAC) (EAC) resource.

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