The results are now in from the Tuesday, Nov. 5 election in Guilford County, but the results of the county’s Thursday, Nov. 21 election aren’t yet known – and, in fact, it’s likely that those results will never ever be released by the Guilford County Board of Elections.
Unlike most elections, this afternoon election only had one polling place – the Blue Room of the Old Guilford County Court House – and only county commissioners and a member of the media casts votes. None of that, however, will result in a scandal because the ballots put into the voting machine were cast in order to offer a hands-on demonstration of the new voting machines that Guilford County is purchasing. The mock election allowed county election officials and the machine vendors to show the way the paper ballots are tabulated by the new system.
So, what choices does a smart voting machine vendor use on a ballot when there are no actual candidates in the races? Well, the answer is fun things and things familiar to the buyer.
For instance, the paper ballots – titled, “NORTH CAROLINA FAVORITE THINGS Voting System Demonstration Ballot” led off with the top-of-the-ballot race, “Preferred NC Vacation Destination” – a race in which voters could vote for one: Beach, Lake or Mountains.
In another race, in which voters could select their top two choices, voters could choose their “Favorite NC State Fair Foods,” including BBQ, Candy Apples, Cheese Fries, Fried Oreos, Frozen Lemonade, Funnel Cake, Hot Chocolate and Turkey Leg.
While it’s questionable whether Hot Chocolate should even be eligible in that race of “foods,” it was certainly good to see that that race allowed for write-in votes – so those who want to see deep-fried Snickers bars victorious were not out of luck, if at a disadvantage.
The ballot also had some races that were no-brainers such as the “Free Lunch on Fridays” referendum, which asked voters, “Should employers provide free lunch on Fridays?” There was also a referendum on “Should election days be treated as a state-wide holiday?” Another race allowed voters to select their favorite university in the state, with choices including Duke, NC A&T and Carolina – but Wake Forest fans had to use the write-in space.
In yet another race, voters could choose their “Favorite Famous North Carolinian” including Charlie Daniels, Dale Earnhardt, Fantasia, Andy Griffith, Michael Jordan, Julianne Moore and so on.
The ballots provided by the machine vendor were officially signed by “Mickey Mouse, Chairman of the Demonstration County Board of Elections.”
Interestingly ballots inserted into the machine ran through it and then were shot out onto the floor in front of it, but Guilford County Board of Elections Director Charlie Collicutt said that, in an actual election, the ballots will fall into a container locked inside the machine rather than be spewed out onto the floor.