State elections board addresses ‘rapidly spreading misinformation’ as mail-in ballots continue to be processed

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RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – With several races still too close to call in North Carolina, the State Board of Elections issued a statement Wednesday in response to “rapidly spreading misinformation.” 

Five county election boards met Wednesday to continue processing outstanding mail-in ballots.  

As of Wednesday morning, the state board said there were about 92,300 people who had requested mail-in ballots, but who state officials had not yet accounted for whether those people voted in-person on Election Day or did not vote at all. 

Additionally, state election officials said county election officials have determined about 20,100 provisional ballots will not be counted. About 20,140 provisional ballots remain to be considered and could be added to vote totals. 

County election boards will meet across the state Friday morning for the “canvas” where they will certify results. The state board will finalize those results on Nov. 24.  

As of Wednesday morning, North Carolina still had not been called in the presidential race. Donald Trump had 73,294 votes over Joe Biden out of about 5.5 million votes cast.  

Several other races remain too close to call. 

In the state attorney general’s race, incumbent Josh Stein (D) was up by 13,615 votes over Republican Jim O’Neill.  

In the race for Chief Justice of the state Supreme Court, Republican Paul Newby and Democrat Cheri Beasley were separated by fewer than one thousand votes. Leaders of the two parties said they anticipate that race going to a recount. 

The state Republican Party is making claims of fraud occurring in the election, tweeting Wednesday morning, “This election, Americans have seen voter fraud take place across the country and in North Carolina.”  

However, when CBS 17 interviewed state Republican Party Chairman Michael Whatley on Wednesday, he said, “Well, I think that, here in North Carolina we’ve not seen any specific allegations of fraud.” 

When asked why the party was making claims of fraud in North Carolina despite not having “any specific allegations,” Whatley said, “What we’re seeing right now does not give us any real heartburn.”  

He went on to say, “Well, we’re telling people that we want to have observers and we want to have attorneys that are gonna monitor this. And, we’re going to make sure we don’t have election fraud in North Carolina. We’re pretty comfortable with the process we’ve seen.”  

He claimed there were incidents in other states worth investigating, but so far Republican Party leaders and the Trump campaign have not produced evidence of widespread fraud. 

“There’s nothing out of the ordinary here,” said state Democratic Party Chairman Wayne Goodwin. “I see nothing other than counting votes, and that’s what the authorities are expected to do.” 

The state Board of Elections noted Wednesday that the agency does not “call” elections, and that the results must be audited. That process began last week. 

“You have sour grapes by some whose candidate didn’t win in the race for the White House,” said Goodwin. “But, you also, unfortunately, have a huge swath of the public that has gotten accustomed to listening to conspiracies, looking for conspiracies.” 

Peter Feaver, a professor at Duke University who worked for George W. Bush’s and Bill Clinton’s administrations, said the pace of this process “shouldn’t be shocking.” 

“It’s an unusual election in that late-arriving ballots, or late-counting ballots, may matter,” he said. 

His colleague, Bruce Jentleson, who worked for the Obama administration, noted that many races in North Carolina ended up being much closer than expected. 

“People are being very cautious about the races and seeing that the incentives are in getting it right, not necessarily being first in those other races,” he said. 

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