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BPR News Election 2020 Live Blog


12:00 AM – Wednesday November 4, 2020

While many races in North Carolina - including the presidency - seem too close to call, North Carolinians can hold onto their reputation of a battleground state. Republicans won big in Western North Carolina as reported by BPR's Lilly Knoepp and Cory Vaillancourt was on hand to cover the #NC11 win by Madison Cawthron.  

However, Democratic Governor Roy Cooper held onto his seat and Asheville's city council has become even more Blue. 

The BPR team is signing off for the night, but stay with us on-air and online all week as we continue to follow Election 2020.  

10:40 PM - Tuesday November 3, 2020


Another NC race is called, Gov. Cooper wins relection. Follow all the state results here



10:11 PM - Tuesday November 3, 2020


We have our second round of analysis with BPR News Director Matt Bush and WCU Political Science Professor Chris Cooper, examining the win for Madison Cawthorne, the shifting political landscape for Buncombe County and what outstanding ballots might mean for tonight's results.




9:59 PM - Tuesday November 3, 2020


Moe Davis has conceded the race for the 11th Congressional District, after Madison Cawthorn won nearly 55% of the vote with 74.27% of precincts reporting. 


I’m grateful to over 1,000 volunteers who worked tirelessly to help me try to bring better days to Western North Carolina. I’ll be forever grateful for their support. But the voters have spoken and while I’m disappointed, I respect their decision. We live in a divided America and a divided Western North Carolina. It is now up to those elected to find a way to heal the divisions, seek common ground and work together to reduce poverty, increase access to healthcare and protect our precious environment. There is a lot of work to do. We are here to help.


9:20 PM - Tuesday November 3, 2020


Local races are being called, including Asheville's City Council. Casey Black with the Citizen Times highlights why these wins are a milestone for the city.

AP is calling the NC 11 race for Madison Cawthorn.



8:47 PM - Tuesday November 3, 2020


As results come in, BPR News Director Matt Bush is closely watching national, state and local races. Matt sends an update - that figure was some 73% at the time of his Tweet. Matt rejoins WCU's Chris Cooper on Facebook Live for more analysis at 9:30 PM. 


WNC Reporter Lilly Knoepp is keeping an eye on NC 119, NC 120 and NC State Senate District 50.





8:00 PM – Tuesday November 3, 2020 

Ahead of the extended closing of several polls in North Carolina at 8:15 PM, BPR News Director Matt Bush spoke with Western Carolina University Political Science Professor Chris Cooper. 

Cooper talks about the “extraordinary” early voting numbers, the “big mystery” of North Carolina’s unaffiliated voters and what we might learn from the early results coming in during the next hour.  

5:50 PM - Tuesday November 3, 2020

What's in store for BPR's Election Night Coverage?

At 7:00 PM, BPR News Director Matt Bush and Host Helen Chickering will provide live local updates on-air and our web stream during NPR’s special coverage. NPR and BPR will use AP’s precise and reliable vote counting and race calls, which do not make projections or speculate on winners.

At 7:30 PM and in the 9:00 PM hour, tune into BPR’s Facebook page for live coverage and analysis with Matt Bush and Western Carolina University Political Science Professor Chris Cooper.

Lilly Knoepp and Cory Vaillancourt will be following results for North Carolina’s 11th Congressional District. Lilly is also watching statewide races for NC House District 118 between Democrat Alan Jones and Republican Mark Pless and House District 119 between incumbent Democrat Joe Sam Queen and Republican challenger Mike Clampitt, as well as NC State Senate District 50 between Democrat Victoria Fox and Republican Kevin Corbin. 

BPR News will also be looking following results for Asheville City Council and Buncombe County Commissioner races, and bringing you updates on the gubernatorial contest. Stay with us - results are expected to begin coming in around 8:15, after North Carolina's Board of Elections extended some hours after several polling locations opened late. You can monitor local and national results as they come in on BPR's 2020 Elections page.

4:00 PM – Tuesday November 3, 2020

Buncombe County’s latest vote count is 15,101 voters as of 4:00 PM, bringing the total to 156,491 people who have now cast their votes or about 75.5% of registered voters. The county says there have been “no incidents to report.” 

Lifelong Asheville resident Vote Monica Harrison voted at Dr. Wesley Grant Sr. Southside Center on Livingston Street earlier today and was excited after casting her ballot. 

“I just think we needed a change and it’s time,” Harrison told BPR’s Helen Chickering. “Everybody get out and vote!” 

Credit Helen Chickering/BPR News
Lifelong Asheville resident Monica Harrison outside the Dr. Wesley Grant Sr. Southside Center on Livingston Street.

At the Birdtown Rec Center in Cherokee, Mary Crowe, stands in front of a sign reading: “Natives Vote.” Crowe, who is a member of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians, explains that it's a national campaign encouraging Native people to turn out to the ballot box. There are 574 federally recognized tribes in 37 states. The campaign is particularly focused on nine swing states including North Carolina.

“The Native vote is not something that has been recognized but from what we have seen in these last weeks of early voting and today. We have had a significant number of our people come out and come together and exercise their right to vote," said Crowe to BPR's Lilly Knoepp. 

Cynthia Whitecotton is a member of the Lakota Tribe but lives on the Qualla Boundary. She explains this is only her second time voting at 63-years-old. 

Credit Lilly Knoepp/BPR News
Cynthia Whitecotton is a member of the Lakota tribe who lives on the Qualla Boundary. She said her distaste for President Trump is what drove her to vote.

“Right now, I can see that the Native voice counts. We are becoming more visible so you know, we are going to get out there and holler,” said Whitecotton.

Like many voters today, Whitecotton said that she is mainly focused on the presidency.

“Well I’m just very displeased with the present leadership of the country. I have never seen America this way,” said Whitecotton. “Like I said, I’m 63-years-old, and I have like decisions about whether I need to pay my bills or eat.”

The Qualla Boundary is mostly located in Swain and Jackson Counties. Swain has traditionally voted Red while Jackson traditionally swings Blue.

2:30 PM – Tuesday November 3, 2020

The North Carolina State Board of Elections is extended voting hours at several sites. This follows voter concerns early today about some polling places that opened late in Concord, NC and two locations in Sampson County had problems with printers. This means results will come in a bit later but Gerry Cohen, Member of the Wake County Elections Board, points out an unseen benefit. 

12:30 PM - Tuesday November 3, 2020


BPR reporters have been speaking with voters on this historic Election Day, including those taking advantage of Hart Funeral Service’s offer to drive people to the polls. Ann-Lee Waite told BPR’s Cass Herrington the free ride was like an answer from "the spirit."


"We've been pacified with this story about America being the 'land of opportunity' and 'equal and justice for all,' but that hasn't been the truth," Waite said. "It's been justice and liberty if you have a white body. If you have a brown body or a black body, it's not for you."


Learn more in Cass’s full story, Black-owned Funeral Home Offers Living Souls A Lift To The Polls



Credit Cass Herrington/BPR News
Hart Funeral Service director Cody McCain picks up Ann-Lee Waite outside her home on election day.

Lilly Knoepp and Helen Chickering spoke with a range of voters across Western North Carolina in the lead-up to today’s in-person voting.  

"We're going through too much from this pandemic to the weather, to social injustice, the economy – it gets too much. Well, how much more can we stand?” said Asheville Resident Gerald Dawkins. 

Voter Julia Greer said she had just moved to Hendersonville from California three months ago. 

"I am Latino from a 'third world country,’ Greer told BPR. “I am also an independent and I'm voting for Trump. And I do think that Trump really cares for Latinos, but he really cares for people doing the right thing and not getting everything for free.” 

Find more voter voices in Lilly and Helen’s Mountain Voices On The 2020 Election

11:30 AM - Tuesday November 3, 2020

Buncombe County Board of Elections has the first election day vote count: 
As of 10 a.m., 6,380 voters cast their ballots in Buncombe County on Election Day, bringing the total Buncombe County turnout to 71%. Pisgah Elementary School and Pole Creek Baptist Church have seen the highest numbers this morning with 219 and 205 respectively. We have no incidents to report, and the NC State Board of Elections reports that voter turnout is steady across North Carolina this morning. 
BPR’s Lilly Knoepp has been interviewing voters outside the metro area. Joseph Proffit is 19 years old and voted for the first time today in Cullowhee, Jackson County. He says he’s most concerned about racial equity and the COVID-19 response. He’s from Morganton, NC and is a student at WCU. 

Credit Lilly Knoepp/BPR News
19-year-old Joseph Proffit is a student at Western Carolina University.

Carol Green and her husband retired to Cullowhee just as the pandemic began. A big fan of Donald Trump, she says the presidential election drove her to vote in person today. “We think he’s done a great job for our country,” said Green. “Straight republican ticket all the way.” 

Credit Lilly Knoepp/BPR News
Cullowhee resident Carol Green.

10:30 AM - Tuesday November 3, 2020 

Volunteers with the non-partisan group Democracy North Carolina are monitoring polls across the state today. At the West Asheville Community Center, regional managing organizer for the organization Edward Peters said everything was running smoothly. He’s been a volunteer poll monitor since 2015.  

"For me I know that there are barriers for folks to vote and things that can happen at polling sites that sometimes we don’t hear about if we’re not out there collecting the stories and hearing what’s happening on the ground,” Peters told BPR’s Matt Peiken.
Peters said following election day, all the observations and any problems voters experienced are compiled in a report which can be used to strengthen the voting process in the future. 
The poll monitors are trained on what to look to for and have legal experts on hand via the hotline 888-OUR-VOTE and 888-VE-Y-VOTA; the Election Protection initiative is a project of the Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law.  

Asheville resident and poll monitor Britt Lundgren was surprised at the slow stream of voters Tuesday morning, which she attributed to the large turnout for early voting. But even if the crowds are smaller, she wants to be there to make sure every voter has the chance to cast their ballot. 

“I see a lot of threats to the legal vote arising in recent years,” said Lundgren, who also volunteers with Democracy North Carolina. “I want to make sure we can maximize the number of people who can access the vote and make their voices heard.” 

8:30 AM - Tuesday November 3, 2020 

North Carolina officials expect up to a half-million people across the state to vote today. North Carolina Attorney General Josh Stein said his office and election officials statewide are prepared to ensure every legal vote is counted and quickly deal with any attempts at voter intimidation or suppression on Election Day tomorrow.

"We will do whatever is necessary to keep our polling areas safe, so that every North Carolinian feels confident they can vote without any form of harassment," Stein said during a Monday press call.

Across the state, more than 4 1/2 million votes were cast through absentee ballots and early voting, which represents about 95 percent of the state’s vote total just four years ago. Stein said that while 97 percent of all precincts will have completed their vote counts by the end of election night, the state won’t declare official results until every vote has been counted.

"We have experience in handling close elections. We may know the winner [Election] night, but we may not know the winner [Election] night, and all Americans need to be comforted in knowing the ultimate winner will be the candidate who wins the most votes in our state, and we will get there, even if it takes days to do all the counting," Stein said.


Stein said anyone witnessing or experiencing intimidation at the polls should inform the on-site election judge, who can call in law enforcement, if necessary.

The Southern Coalition for Social Justice reported several hundred calls as of 8:00 AM to the Election Protection hotline "mostly related to difficulties finding polling places due to poor signage or concerns about insufficient staffing."


"Multiple polling places across the state opened late and the Southern Coalition for Social Justice will be seeking an extension on the hours at those precincts to give all voters adequate time to cast their ballots," said Allison Riggs, Chief Voting Rights Counsel for the Southern Coalition for Social Justice, in a statement.


In West Asheville, several voters shared their early morning experiences with BPR, reporting no issues or delays.


7:00 AM - Tuesday November 3, 2020

Polls in North Carolina are open 6:30 am to 7:30 pm. If you're in line at your assigned polling place at 7:30 pm, you will be able to cast a ballot. North Carolina's Board of Election's says masks and hand sanitizer are available and social distancing will be enforced. You can locate you're polling place here and if your name is not on the voter list, you can request a provisional ballot. What if you didn't get a chance to return your absentee ballot? Here's what NCSBOE advises: 

If you are voting by mail and have not returned your ballot, you may not return your ballot to a polling site on Election Day. You may mail your ballot back or return your ballot sealed inside the completed envelope to your county board of elections by 5 p.m. on Election Day. Mailed ballots must be postmarked on or before Election Day. Mailed ballots that are postmarked on or before Election Day must be received by November 12. If you mail your ballot on or before Election Day, you may not vote again in person.

If you experience any issues at the polls, there are legal representatives from the Election Protection initiative available to help. Call 866-OUR-VOTE for English assistance, administered by the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law and 888-VE-Y-VOTA for Spanish assistance, administered by the NALEO Educational Fund.

If you’re voting in person on Tuesday, we’d love to hear about your experience. After you vote, record a voice memo and take a selfie outside the polls. (Please note: recording inside the polls is not permitted.) Tell us why you voted on Election Day and what issues are most important to you this election. Be sure to include your name, precinct and the time. Send these to news@bpr.org or tag us on social media with #BPRNews.

If you witness any problems at the polls, please document those as well. We’ll try to follow up on any issues and we may use your recordings and visuals on-air or on social media. 

Learn about all of BPR's coverage plans for Election Day.

Catherine Komp joined Blue Ridge Public Radio in September 2020 as the organization’s first Director of Content, leading BPR’s talented team of local journalists and content creators, overseeing national programming and facilitating collaborations and engagement initiatives.
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