Muggy Weather Is Screwing Up Voting in North Carolina and Alabama

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As if gerrymandered districts and outright voter suppression aren’t already enough to deal with, thunderstorms and humid weather have been causing ballot issues for voters in North Carolina and Alabama all morning long.

Since the polls opened this morning, voters in the two Southern states have been reporting issues with their ballots not being accepted by the tabulators (the thing you stick your ballot in). After a little bit of digging on the part of reporters and local elections boards in both states, the problem revealed itself in form of an unusually high November dew point caused by the recent rash of storms that rolled through the region.

Advertisement reported that the humidity accompanying a Monday night thunderstorm caused paper ballots to swell to the point that they wouldn’t scan correctly. That’s in addition to issues of the ballots not being properly sized, which reportedly forced poll workers to hand-cut ballots to the appropriate width. Wake County elections chief Gary Sims said at a press conference this afternoon that eight North Carolina precincts were still facing these same issues, although the issue of ballot size appeared to have to do more with the length of this year’s ballot (due to one unnecessary amendment and five terrible ones) than any mistaken ballot cutting.

“We’ve never had a 17-inch ballot and never had the levels of humidity we had today,” Sims said, according to WRAL. “Some of them are just going to be a challenge. Other than getting fans out there, there’s not much more we can do at this time.”


In both Alabama and North Carolina, any ballots that are not accepted in two attempts will be placed in an “emergency” bin to be counted later. Sims did make sure to point out that the snafu surrounding Tuesday’s election should be the last time Wake County experiences weather-related voting issues, as the county recently allocated funding for new machines that will be put in place for future elections.

But, at least for this year, long lines and swamp ass appear to be the price of democracy.