Voter ID law mandates paper ballots by 2018

GUILFORD COUNTY, N.C. —  Part of the controversial voter ID bill Governor McCrory signed into law Monday, requires every county in North Carolina to use paper ballots instead of touch screen electric voting machines.

Guilford County has used touch screen voting machines since 2006. The county spent $6 million on 1,400 of them.

“It’s like a tablet computer and it registers the tabulations electronically and there’s a paper audit trail alongside of it,” explained Charlie Collicutt, with the Guilford County Board of Elections.

Even before the current touch screen systems, Guilford County voters used some type of electronic voting machine.

The paper ballot will be hand marked by voters, then will be through a machine that will calculate the votes.

“Other counties in the state use it. Some like it, some don’t. There are different opinions on it,” Collicutt explained.

Guilford County will use the touch screen voting machines through the 2016 presidential election, then start shopping around for new machines.

Collicutt doesn’t expect the move to cost the county more than $6 million price tag in 2006.

“It won’t cost quite that much upfront when we start that system, but with a paper based system you have the ongoing cost of paper each year,” he said.

All counties in the state have until 2018 to make the change.

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