Local political experts say absentee voting is secure

CHARLOTTE — The Mecklenburg County Board of Elections has been flooded with calls from people who are worried their vote won’t count, officials said.

“How secure are our elections? Our elections are very secure,” said Eric Heberlig, political science professor at UNC Charlotte.

Voter fraud rarely occurs and when it does, there are numerous checks and balances to catch it, Hberlig said.

“I don’t sent ballots out to everybody,” said Michael Dickerson, director at Mecklenburg County BOE. “You’ve got to ask me for a ballot.”

There has been a national debate about absentee voting versus mail-in voting. North Carolina is an absentee state.

Voters’ applications for absentee voting must include:

1. A request by the voter

2. Name

3. Address

4. Social Security number

A ballot won’t be mailed out unless a voter requests it.

“I have to make sure they are registered to vote, and that they are the person they say they are,” Dickerson said.

After the ballot is received:

1. It must be filled out with a signature

2. There must be a witness when the voter fills it out

3. The witness must provide their name and address

4. The ballot can be mailed or dropped off at the BOE office

The elections board will review each ballot. There are five members, including three who are Democratic. They determine the legitimacy of each ballot.

“No, they don’t unanimously have to agree,” Dickerson said. “We prefer they do, and they always have in the past.”

There have been 55,000 requests for absentee ballots in Mecklenburg County.

Officials are expecting 125,000 requests this election cycle, which is more than 25,000 requests in a typical year.

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The BOE expects to see between 300,000 and 350,000 people cast their votes early.

The expect about 100,000 people to vote in person in Mecklenburg County.

Heberlig said voters shouldn’t worry about the process of absentee voting.