WASHINGTON, D.C. — The North Carolina State Board of Elections (NCSBE) has selected 10 counties to test a signature verification pilot program that if adopted in full could make the Tar Heel State the “strictest” in the U.S. for mail-in ballots.
The pilot program is part of an omnibus voter suppression law enacted by North Carolina Republicans last year. During the March primary, Bertie, Cherokee, Durham, Halifax, Henderson, Jones, Montgomery, Pamlico, Rowan and Wilkes counties will utilize software to verify that a voter’s signature on their mail-in ballot matches what the state has on record.
Each county was chosen randomly, based on rankings for population, racial diversity and regional location, among other factors.
Evidence supporting a need for signature verification has shown to be dubious, and laws implementing the questionable practice have been the subject of intense legal action and scrutiny. Though ballots that fail the signature verification pilot program won’t be rejected for that reason, a fully implemented program could reject voters’ ballots on a significant scale.
The NCSBE will report the findings of the pilot program and provide any recommendations to the North Carolina General Assembly by May 1, 2024.