Editorial: Too many mail-in N.C. ballots unfairly rejected, fix it now

Steve HutkinsNews

WRAL News: Once someone has proven, through the registration process, they are qualified to vote in the United States and North Carolina casting a ballot should simple and efficient.

Ballots voters ballots cast before the polls close should be counted. This is simple, fair and common sense.

But simple, fair and common sense don’t seem to apply for people who vote in North Carolina or the state legislative leaders who make the rules.

During the March primary there were 776 voters who cast ballots by mail on or before Election Day that were received within three days after the election – the former grace period. This common-sense grace period accommodated the likely chance that the postal service might encounter some glitches in the “swift completion of their appointed rounds.”

But due to no fault of the voters, their ballots were not counted. One mail-in absentee ballot received in Iredell County was post-marked Feb. 22, but failed to make it to the local Board of Elections by 7:30 p.m. on March 5, the Election Day deadline since the legislature abolished the grace period last year.  It did arrive within the old grace period.

Is it fair to that diligent qualified voter, who cast a ballot on — or in fact well before – Election Day to have it trashed through no fault of their own?

How significant might 776 votes cast out of 1.8 million – a seemingly miniscule four-hundredths of one percent (0.04%)? Ask Incumbent Democratic state Rep. Michael Wray lost his primary by a mere 34 votes.  It wouldn’t take many of those 776 votes to have made a difference in that race….

Voters who do their part should not be punished, nor their participation denied, because of factors out of their control. It is a nonsensical law failing to recognize, nor seek in some way to compensate for, the fact that voter cannot determine how fast their ballot will move through the postal service to the board of elections.

Read more: Editorial: Too many mail-in N.C. ballots unfairly rejected, fix it now