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January 28, 2021

Ask Us: Readers ask about legality of begging in Salisbury, Dominion voting machines

Editor’s note: Ask Us is a weekly feature published online Mondays and in print on Tuesdays. We’ll seek to answer your questions about items or trends in Rowan County. Have a question? Email it to askus@salisburypost.com.

One city of Salisbury ordinance hasn’t been enforced since at least 2019 and is on its way toward being removed from the city’s code entirely.

That ordinance makes it unlawful for someone “to engage in the business of soliciting alms, or begging charity, for his own livelihood, upon the streets or sidewalks of the city, or any other public place within the corporate limits of the city.” Numbered 15-13, the same ordinance also makes it unlawful for someone to sell or offer for sale anything as an indirect method of begging for food or money.

The Post asked about the ordinance after a reader submitted a question on whether it was legal for people to solicit money on public street corners in Salisbury. The reader specifically asked about people who have done so at the intersections of Jake Alexander Boulevard and Brenner Avenue as well as Jake Alexander Boulevard and N.C. 150.

Lt. Lee Walker, of the Salisbury Police Department, said the ordinance is still valid but the department has not actively enforced it since 2019.

City Attorney Graham Corriher said police may go to investigate a complaint if needed.

“If individuals are in violation of any other laws/ordinances based on their conduct (for example, trespassing on private property), the individuals may be asked to leave,” Corriher wrote in an email. “If the conduct continues, the individuals may be charged, but again, they are not charged under that section of the city code.”

Corriher said he anticipates proposing ordinance revisions to the Salisbury City Council sometime in the next few months that will remove the section pertaining to begging and address other, related issues.

Which voting machines were used in North Carolina?

Another reader asked whether Dominion voting machines were used in North Carolina during the 2020 election.

The short answer, according to the North Carolina Board of Elections, is: No.

Voting systems from three different vendors were approved for use this year by the N.C. Board of Elections. Those vendors include Clear Ballot, Elections Systems and Software (ES&S) and Hart InterCivic. Only ES&S and Hart were actually used in the 2020 election.

For Election Day and early voting, Rowan County this year used a tabulator from ES&S named the DS200, according to the State Board of Elections. The machine scans paper ballots, “ensures even the most poorly marked ballots are read accurately and consistently,” includes a battery backup to guard against power outages and stores paper ballots inside after they’ve been counted, according to the company’s product page.

Under state law, voting equipment cannot be connected to the internet or use wireless access — a rule that’s intended to limit the possibility of outside interference.

Meanwhile, Dominion Voting Systems, a company founded in 2003 and headquartered in Toronto, Canada, and Denver, has been the target of conspiracy theories that its machines deleted and/or switched votes in key states, thereby depriving President Donald Trump of a re-election victory. But a joint statement issued Nov. 12 from from election officials across the country, including the assistant director of the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, refuted those claims.

“There is no evidence that any voting system deleted or lost votes, changed votes, or was in any way compromised,” elections officials said in the joint statement.

Abbreviated CISA, the cybersecurity agency was created in 2018 when Trump signed the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency Act of 2018 into law. Its mission is to “lead the national effort to understand and manage cyber and physical risk to our critical infrastructure.”

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