So what’s next? Understanding outstanding absentee mail-in ballots

Some local races will be impacted by absentee ballots

NORTH CAROLINA (WECT) - Nearly one-million absentee by-mail votes have been cast in North Carolina, but over 100-thousand remain outstanding.

That’s according to the North Carolina State Board of Election’s update Wednesday afternoon. The number still stands at around 117,000 by-mail absentee ballots that are outstanding. Karen Brinson Bell, the Executive Director for the NCSBE, said the board is still working to gather the number of provisional ballots. Bell said it’s very unlikely North Carolina’s numbers will change much before Nov. 12 or 13.

Though Election day is behind us, as long as those absentee ballots, postmarked by Nov. 3, at the latest, arrive at county Board of Elections offices by Nov. 12, they will be counted. But some people may have changed their mind and decided to vote in person after requesting an absentee ballot.

Regardless, with several races remaining very close, like the Presidential race and the NHC Board of Commissioners, those ballots could possibly make a difference in the final results.

WECT reached out to the Board of Elections offices in Bladen, Brunswick, Columbus, New Hanover, and Pender Counties. As of Wednesday afternoon, Bladen County is waiting on the return of 728 mail ballots after receiving 2,035 ballot requests. Brunswick County has 1,339 outstanding absentee by-mail ballots after the county issued 24,300.

Sara Knotts, the Director for the Brunswick County Board of Elections, said they did a good job counting those mail-in and early voting ballots, but the numbers were staggering.

“We had many polls with a steady stream of voters but definitely nothing like we anticipated," said Knotts. "Going into this election, I could not foresee that we would see so many people participate by absentee by-mail and early voting so we definitely thought election day would be bigger than it was.”

The Pender County Board of Election’s Director said they are not able to share absentee by-mail ballot data as they prepare for a Sample Audit Thursday. WECT has not heard back from New Hanover County or Columbus County Board of Election offices regarding Wednesday’s mail-in ballot numbers.

Official election results do not come out until canvas which takes place Nov. 13.

For more voting numbers and information from North Carolina, click here.

You can watch Wednesday’s press conference from the NCSBE below.

HAPPENING NOW: The N.C. State Board of Elections will hold a media briefing regarding Election Day and the post-election processes the board will take.

Posted by WECT News on Wednesday, November 4, 2020

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