There’s an interesting tidbit about past primary elections in Guilford County and North Carolina that you probably didn’t know.
If you mailed in your absentee ballot in the preprinted envelope from the Guilford County Board of Elections, it noted on the outside whether the envelope contained a vote from a Republican, or a vote from a Democrat.
Prior to the primary this year, envelopes used for voters who voted absentee and mailed their primary ballots in the state had an inconspicuous marking that allowed someone to identify whether a mail-in ballot was from a Republican or a Democrat.
The markings on the outside of the envelope included an “R” for ballots cast by Republicans and a “D” for those by Democrats. Though the small markings went unnoticed by virtually everyone other than the election workers on the receiving end, it’s a concerning issue to some.
Since the markings were only on primary ballots, which are actually two separate primary elections, one for Republicans and one for Democrats all the markings did was inform anyone looking at the envelope whether the ballot was in the Democratic primary or the Republican primary. In some states the party primary elections are held at different times, so whether the ballot was marked or not, people would know from when it was mailed what primary they were voting in.
A viral video from a Florida voter that’s making the rounds now raised the issue to the attention of many in areas where it’s still done, and, when Guilford County Elections Director Charlie Collicutt was asked if the markings existed on the ballots in this county, he said no, but he added that that had been the practice in the past.
“We do not,” he said. “In the past we did, because of some older laws regarding primaries–not now though.”
He said the practice was changed before the 2020 primary.
Collicutt said prior to the law being changed that state statute required it.
“The General Assembly changed it sometime last year,” he said. “It was not on the envelope in March.”