17 NC county elections boards counting additional votes

North Carolina Politics

RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — Seventeen county boards of elections in North Carolina met Tuesday to consider a total of at least 7,200 additional absentee by-mail ballots.

Approved ballots will be added to the unofficial results on the State Board of Elections website after the meetings.

As of 1:30 p.m. Tuesday, county boards had accepted more than one million absentee-by-mail ballots, about 18% of the total ballots cast in the 2020 general election.

County boards of elections will continue to meet through Friday to consider additional absentee by-mail ballots that arrive at their offices through Thursday, provided they were postmarked on or before Election Day.

Wake County is handling the majority of the additional votes, as the county’s board of elections will be tasked with considering 5,400 of the approximately 7,200 ballots.

According to state law, county boards of elections will complete their processes and canvass the election on Nov. 13. The State Board will meet on Nov. 24 to certify the final results.

“Only a few days remain for counties to review absentee ballots,” said Karen Brinson Bell, executive director of the State Board of Elections. “We want to thank the counties for all of their hard work this election in processing an unprecedented number of by-mail ballots in pandemic conditions.”

Election officials do not “call” contests for any candidate. Historically, the media or candidates have done that when the number of outstanding ballots in a contest is less than the vote difference between candidates or when it is clear that a candidate will ultimately prevail.

As of Tuesday morning, about 93,000 voters who requested an absentee by-mail ballot had not yet returned an accepted ballot or voted in person during the early voting period.

The number of these ballots ultimately received by county boards of elections and counted will be less than that because some voters cast their ballot in person on Election Day and others likely did not vote at all.

In addition, 27,500 absentee ballots that have been accepted by county boards after Election Day and 23,091 provisional ballots that haven’t been disqualified could ultimately be counted toward the results.

Thus far, county boards of elections have determined that at least 17,450 provisional ballots will not be counted. County-level election staff continue to research and review the remaining provisional ballots before reporting findings to the bipartisan county board members for final approval during public board meetings.

The numbers above are approximations based on the best available data through the state’s election information management system.

The number of absentee ballots that may be counted is also included. Additional ballots may be considered today if they arrive at the county board office before today’s meeting.


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