© 2024 Blue Ridge Public Radio
Blue Ridge Mountains banner background
Your source for information and inspiration in Western North Carolina.
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

NC Elections Officials Urge Patience As Vote Count Continues

In this Thursday, Sept. 3, 2020, file photo, stacks of ballot envelopes waiting to be mailed are seen at the Wake County Board of Elections in Raleigh, N.C.
Credit Gerry Broome / AP
In this Thursday, Sept. 3, 2020, file photo, stacks of ballot envelopes waiting to be mailed are seen at the Wake County Board of Elections in Raleigh, N.C.

State elections officials say they will continue to count votes as local elections boards process remaining mail-in and provisional ballots that are delivered by the Postal Service through Nov. 12, as long as they were postmarked by Election Day.

State Board of Elections Executive Director Karen Brinson Bell confirmed unaccounted absentee ballots are still at 117,000.

As of Wednesday afternoon, counting of all votes was complete, and Trump held a narrow lead over Biden.

Now we wait for more absentee ballots to come in to be processed.— WUNC (@wunc) November 4, 2020

"We have to wait until those arrive to us to make sure they were properly postmarked," she said at a press conference Wednesday afternoon.

North Carolina's numbers are unlikely to change dramatically before November 12 or 13 when most counties will meet to count remaining absentee ballots and consider provisional ballots, according to Brinson Bell. That being said, the 117,000 number may decrease as ballots are excluded for late postmarks, or if people voted  in-person on Election Day or incorrectly filled out ballots.

The state board had extended the deadline for absentee ballots to be received at local election offices from Nov. 6 to Nov. 12 as part of a consent decree in a state lawsuit by voting rights advocates. They must be postmarked by Election Day.

At stake in North Carolina are 15 electoral votes. The state's U.S. Senate race between Republican incumbent Thom Tillis and Democratic challenger Cal Cunningham also remains too close to call.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Copyright 2020 North Carolina Public Radio

Elizabeth “Liz” Baier is WUNC’s Digital News Editor. She joined the station in May 2016 after eight year of reporting for Minnesota Public Radio News where she covered everything from demographic changes in rural America, agriculture, the environment and health care. Prior to that, Liz worked for six years as a newspaper reporter in South Florida, both at the Miami Herald and South Florida Sun-Sentinel.
Natalie Dudas-Thomas serves as WUNC’s Social Media Producer. Combining her background in journalism and digital marketing, Natalie previously worked at WGBH Boston and served as Social Media Producer for PRI’s The World. Most recently, Natalie managed her own business consulting with dozens of nonprofits and women-owned businesses to help increase their web presence. Her work has been featured in numerous publications and she's presented at SXSW discussing how the use of GIFs can help advance journalism.