RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – State election officials do not expect results from remaining mail-in ballots to be made public until next week, which could impact the outcome in races that are still too close to call.
As of Tuesday evening, the North Ccarolina State Board of Elections said there were about 117,000 people who requested mail-in ballots but who had not yet voted. It was unclear how many of those people voted on Election Day in person instead of mailing in a ballot.
“Regardless of vote differentials, we never stop counting until all eligible votes are counted and added to the final, certified and audited results,” said Karen Brinson Bell, executive director of the NC State Board of Elections.
Under a court order, ballots that were postmarked by 5 p.m. on Election Day can still be counted as long as they arrive at the county elections office by Nov. 12.
County boards of elections have scheduled meetings for next week to consider the additional mail-in ballots.
In Durham County, Elections Director Derek Bowens said the board will meet Thursday, Nov. 12, to verify those ballots were properly submitted and then add them to the vote counts. No results from those ballots will be posted sooner than that, he said.
“Be patient with election administrators. This has turned into an around-the-clock job. It has been for several months now,” Bowens said.
State officials said they expected a report on the number of provisional ballots cast to be made public by noon Thursday. Voters may be asked to cast a provisional ballot for a variety of reasons, such as showing up at the wrong precinct on Election Day.
In Wake County, election officials plan to meet Tuesday, Nov. 10, to process the additional mail-in ballots and plan to begin making results public on that day, county spokesperson Stacy Beard said.
In the presidential race, former Vice President Joe Biden trailed President Donald Trump by 76,701 votes, as of Wednesday morning. Democrat Cal Cunningham trailed Sen. Thom Tillis (R) by 96,707 votes. In the race for Chief Justice of the North Carolina Supreme Court, Democrat Cheri Beasley trailed Republican Paul Newby by just 3,742 votes.
County boards will conduct what’s known as the canvass on Nov. 13 to authenticate final results. The state board will certify the results on Nov. 24.
The NC State Board of Elections on Wednesday randomly selected precincts to conduct the post-election audit to verify that vote totals are accurate, which is a routine practice following an election.
This story will be updated.