Cuts to the State Board of Elections could cause inconveniences for voters in the upcoming 2012 election.
Many political officials have expressed concern about potential problems voters might face at the polls due to a $1 million cut to the State Board of Election’s budget.
The cut, enacted this summer, coupled with a freeze in federal Help America Vote Act funds means local boards of elections have to make do with less — including the elimination of 14 election officials statewide.
Gary Bartlett, executive director of the State Board of Elections, said eight of the election officials are technicians, which train county elections workers to improve accuracy, audit voting equipment and provide emergency technical support during elections. The technicians also served as liaisons between the state offices and local boards, he said.
Without these technicians, Bartlett said it could take longer for polling place problems to be resolved. The lack of federal funds could also result in longer lines at polling places and the use of older voting equipment.
“Many of the less wealthy counties will be without IT support as far as voting equipment is concerned,” said Johnnie McLean, deputy director of administration for the State Board of Elections.
Damon Circosta, executive director of the N.C. Center for Voter Education, said the state could run into infrastructure problems.
“Without adequate funding and machines, you could run into a Florida in 2000 or an Ohio in 2004,” Circosta said.
“Running elections is like a shuttle launch. You only get one shot.”