Things to keep in mind ahead of election night in North Carolina

Early voting in New Hanover County
Early voting in New Hanover County(WECT)
Published: Nov. 3, 2022 at 2:43 PM EDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) - Nov. 8 is Election Day for the 2022 general election. Here is your guide to unofficial counts, provisional ballots and other topics that tend to come up around Election Day.

The N.C. State Board of Elections notes that power outages, printer jams, long lines and other minor disruptions are par for the course on election day. Between over 2,650 Election Day polling places, some of them will likely hit some bumps in the road. In a case wherein voting is stopped for 15 minutes or more, the Board can extend voting at the affected sites for the duration of the interruption. Note that votes after 7:30 p.m. will be considered provisional ballots, meaning they won’t be counted until after Election Day.

Also, results on the night of the election are unofficial: county boards don’t certify results until Nov. 18 and the State board doesn’t certify until Nov. 29. Still, the Associated Press will call a winner once there is no way for their opponents to catch up in votes. The Board of Elections website will have results as they are reported in by the various counties.

By the end of election night, the board expects that about 99 percent of all ballots will be reported on the unofficial results. These include votes cast via one-stop early voting, by-mail absentee votes received by 5 p.m. on Nov. 7 and non-provisional Election Day votes.

Absentee ballots postmarked by Election Day and received by 5 p.m. on Nov. 14, overseas and military absentee ballots received by 6 p.m. on Nov. 17 and all provisional ballots are not reported until after Election Day.

Per the State Board of Elections, the approximate timeline for results reporting is:

  • 7:30 p.m.: Polls close.
  • 7:30 p.m.–9 p.m.: Counties report results of one-stop early voting and absentee by-mail ballots received by 5 p.m. Monday, November 7.
  • 7:30 p.m.–9:30 p.m.: Precinct officials hand-deliver Election Day results to county boards of elections offices.
  • 8:30 p.m.–midnight: Election Day precinct results are reported; reporting continues until all Election Day unofficial results are posted.

Election security

A number of measures are taken to keep elections secure as well. Per the BoE:

  • N.C. voting machines are not connected to the internet, reducing the possibility of cyber attacks.
  • Paper ballots are used in all 100 counties, meaning that there is a paper trail in the case of a recount or audit.
  • Trained, bipartisan election workers staff every polling place in the state. They are overseen by the board of elections for each county and the state.
  • No voting or election system in North Carolina has ever been the target of a successful cyber attack.