Today, voting rights advocates filed a lawsuit in Wake County Superior Court challenging the new electronic voting system that Mecklenburg County and several other North Carolina counties rushed to implement for the 2020 elections. The suit alleges the new system is vulnerable to security threats and its results are unverifiable, in violation of the North Carolina Constitution’s guarantees of free and fair elections and equal protection of the law. The North Carolina State Conference of the NAACP and several North Carolina voters are bringing the lawsuit. They are represented by the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, Free Speech For People, and the law firm of Sheppard, Mullin, Richter & Hampton LLP.
The suit also alleges that using this new system, the ExpressVote, is particularly perilous during the COVID-19 pandemic. The COVID-19 disease can be spread through contact with the touchscreen computer or other parts of the ExpressVote. Election Systems & Software, the company which manufactures and markets the Express Vote machines, claims there are remedial steps which election officials can take to mitigate this threat. However, remedial steps, such as cleaning the machines after each contact by a voter, are time-consuming, difficult, and costly, and they can lead to long lines at polling places. Such cleaning can also damage the ExpressVote machines and is ineffective in eliminating the coronavirus if improperly done.