North Carolina’s state board extends voting hours in Durham County

The request stemmed from an incident this morning with electronic poll books.

Voters waiting outside the Mecklenburg County Library In Charlotte. CREDIT: Erica Hellerstein
Voters waiting outside the Mecklenburg County Library In Charlotte. CREDIT: Erica Hellerstein

CHARLOTTE, NORTH CAROLINA — The Durham County Board of Elections has voted unanimously to extend voting in the county by 90 minutes, according to sources at the University of North Carolina Center for Civil Rights.

The request stems from an incident this morning in which electronic poll books that were used to verify voter registration began malfunctioning. Although the problem has since been resolved, some voters who stopped by the polls were told to come back this evening, said Jennifer Marsh, Director of Research for UNC’s Center for Civil Rights and manager of UNC’s voter hotline. In response, the Durham County Board of Elections has asked the State Board of Elections to account for the problem by push back the end of the county’s voting hours from 7:30 pm to 9 pm.

Advertisement

The state Board of Elections acknowledged the problems at the sites in Durham but has not indicated whether it will extend the hours as requested.

Although the problems with Durham’s electronic poll books seemed to garner the most attention on Election Day, Marsh said the hotline has also received calls regarding issues with DMV registration.

Advertisement

“We’ve been hearing a lot of individuals saying they registered through the DMV and that their registrations were not activated. Either their address update was not made or their registration was not ever made at all,” said Marsh. “It’s an ongoing problem; it’s happened in previous elections.”

Problems have been reported outside of Durham County, as well. On Tuesday morning a representative of the National LGBTQ Task Force conducting voter surveys outside a Charlotte polling site told ThinkProgress that at least two voters claimed their voting machines switched their votes from Hillary Clinton to Donald Trump. Democracy North Carolina, the nonpartisan group that has trained more than 1,000 election monitors across the state, confirmed it had received reports of vote flipping.

At least some of these issues have also played a part in a higher call volume to the UNC voter hotline. Marsh estimated that the hotline has so far received double the calls it got during the 2012 election.

Update: North Carolina’s Board of Elections will extend voting in Durham Country.