Board scraps idea of sheriff’s escorts for election night results

By on April 18, 2019

After a tense exchange at a meeting Tuesday regarding the transportation of flash drives to speed up the posting of election results, members of the Dare County Board of Elections decided to scrap the whole plan.

The move was the result of pushback from a Hatteras Island precinct official and a decision by the Dare County Sheriff’s Office to withdraw its offer to shuttle flash drives and poll workers to election headquarters.

“There was an email sent out and the board received it from a chief judge.” said Sandy Semans Ross, chair of the Dare County Board of Elections.

The email, which was read into the record, was sent by the Robin Ames, chief judge for the Avon precinct.

“We want to go on record and make the rest of the Board aware that every poll worker in Avon strenuously objects to this proposal. It is unreasonable to expect we would make a 2 hour round trip (longer from other Hatteras Island precincts) after 14+ hours working at the polls. We won’t go,” Ames wrote.

“We call in our results as soon as we close the polls and run the tapes. If the Board feels it needs to get the flash drive on the night of the election it should come and get it.”

Sheriff Doug Doughtie had also emailed the board expressing second thoughts.

“After much consideration and a few phone calls I have reconsidered the offer of transportation for poll workers to Manteo after election night. If I could be of any other assistance or if something should change, I am ready to offer whatever I can to make it more functional,” Doughtie said.

During the board’s re-evaluation of the procedure, the old procedure of calling in the results was chosen as the best way to continue. Though there are no plans to revisit the topic in the future, the subject of busy phone lines making it difficult for poll workers to report election results was discussed.

“Are the phones tied up sometimes? If so, we need to get another employee to receive more phone calls,” said Dare County Board of Elections member James Cofield.

Responding to the inquiry, Dare County Board of Elections Director Michele Barnes explained that she had made arrangements so that the phones would roll over and there would be no busy signal.

“I am going to reach out to a couple of people and ask them to come in and help out on election night; that would give us extra people manning phone lines,” Barnes said.

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There is no need to rush elections results in considering most of the elected will be in office for 2 or more years. Waiting a few hours extra is meaningless. Using USB sticks for anything is sketchy as they can be compromised and potentially introduce viruses and other malware into election computers and devices.