With more ballots to count, official election results won’t be finalized in NC for another week

By: - November 4, 2020 3:31 pm
NC Board of Elections Executive Director Karen Brinson Bell (Photo: NCBOE)

North Carolina elections officials on Wednesday continued to process a record 5.5 million ballots — equivalent to a voter turnout of 74% — a figure elections board chairman Damon Circosta called “astounding.”

Official results, including those for the presidential race, won’t be available until Nov. 12 or Nov. 13, when county canvassing is complete, said state board Executive Director Karen Brinson Bell at a press conference this afternoon.

Still unknown are the number of provisional ballots, as well as those absentee submitted by mail that were postmarked by Nov. 2. Those absentee by mail votes will be counted as long as they arrive at the board of elections by Nov. 12.

“AllĀ eligible ballots have already left the voters hands,” Brinson Bell said.

The state board is expected to receive county data on provisional ballots tomorrow by noon; however, county elections officials still must research those ballots and determine their validity.

In the 2016 election, 61,000 provisional ballots were cast and just under half — 27,000 — were counted.

The final set of unofficial results arrived at the state board at 12:28 a.m. today. Of the ballots, 977,000 were absentee by mail ballots , 3.6 million were cast during early voting with another 900,000 on Election Day.

The number of absentee by mail ballots was nearly five times the usual number in previous elections, roughly 200,000 on average.

There remain 117,000 absentee by mail ballots that were requested, but have yet to arrive. It’s possible those voters opted to cast ballots in person or not at all.

“Our job is to get the count right as fast as we can, but to get it right,” Circosta said.

Brinson Bell underscored the importance of conducting “an accurate and fair election,” in which North Carolinians “can have confidence in votes that they cast.”

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Lisa Sorg
Lisa Sorg

Assistant Editor and Environmental Reporter Lisa Sorg helps manage newsroom operations while covering the environment, climate change, agriculture and energy.