Early voting for the March primary has begun. And local elections officials have been hit with a surprising change in the last week. According to multiple sources I talked with in local elections offices, the whole spoiled ballot concept is GONE for this round of voting. The diktat has been issued from Raleigh.
For those of you unfamiliar with inside baseball like this, spoiled ballots occur in several instances: being handed the wrong ballot (party, residential jurisdiction, etc.), marking a ballot and then changing your mind about your choices, and the like.
It’s as one local official told me: “Once you walk in, and that ballot hits your hand, it is YOURS. You can’t give it back. If, say, you are handed a Democrat primary ballot, and you are a Republican, any marks you make on that ballot for partisan races will be tossed out. The law does not allow Republicans to vote in Democrat primaries, or vice-versa. You only get ONE ballot. If you are in a county with split legislative or congressional districts, and you get the ballot for a district you don’t live in — it’s too bad. If you mark it, the vote is thrown out. So, you can be disenfranchised by a mistake made by a poll worker. THIS is a lawsuit waiting to happen.”
All of you know, as well as I do, that most poll workers tend to be senior citizens. Those folks — believe it or not — can get confused pretty easily. (Especially in a primary election where unaffiliateds are showing up to vote.)
None of these local officials could offer up an explanation for the change. Apparently, Raleigh did not offer one.