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North Carolina election officials weigh in on growing hostility toward election workers

North Carolina election officials weigh in on growing hostility toward election workers
Published: May. 17, 2022 at 7:30 PM EDT
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GREENVILLE, N.C. (WITN) - The integrity of the election process has been questioned a lot in the last few years, leading to hostility toward those who help carry out the process.

WITN talked to election officials and a political science professor about the implications of growing anger toward poll workers.

“Today, hundreds of thousands of North Carolinians are making their voices heard,” Karen Bell, North Carolina State Board of Elections executive director said.

However, the process of counting votes is being questioned perhaps more than ever before, across the country and here in North Carolina.

“There’s so much false and misleading information about elections out there,” Bell said.

She spoke Tuesday morning in an effort to reassure people that all votes will be counted accurately.

“We want to remind voters that we have countless safeguards in place to help make sure your vote is counted and that the final results are accurate. We do this work every day of the year, and we take it extremely seriously,” she continued.

All of that work happens before Election Day even begins. There are even more procedures afterward.

“We also, following all elections, conduct a post-election audit that includes a sample hand-to-eye count of randomly selected precincts and voting sites,” Bell said.

“I think anyone who works in elections will welcome scrutiny,” Jason Roberts, UNC Chapel Hill political science professor said.

Roberts said curiosity and skepticism are good signs, but hostility is not.

Roberts encourages people to get involved in the process.

“Your elections board meetings are open to the public. Many of them you can attend in person and you can attend over Zoom, and you can watch what’s going on,” Roberts said. “You’ll see that things that maybe look a little funny to you have explanations if you simply ask people, the people involved, what they’re doing and why they’re doing it.”

If the antagonism doesn’t lessen, Roberts fears the impact it will have on future elections. “I think it’s gonna make it increasingly difficult to find good people who want to play an integral role in this key part of our democracy.”

Some polling locations are being forced to respond to these threats.

In Wake County, for example, workers increased security, including an armed guard in the lobby.

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