RALEIGH – The counting of absentee and provisional ballots is making some progress, albeit very slowly, according to the N.C. State Board of Elections (NCSBE). The Board announced Monday that seven more counties are counting additional votes on Monday.
From the NCSBE statement:
“Seven county boards of elections are meeting today to consider a total of at least 3,200 additional absentee by-mail ballots. Approved ballots will be added to the unofficial results on the State Board of Elections website after the meetings.
The Election Night Results website is here: https://er.ncsbe.gov/. Late last week, 10 county boards of elections added about 4,750 absentee ballots to the unofficial totals.
County boards of elections will continue to meet through Friday, November 13 to consider additional absentee by-mail ballots that arrive at their offices through November 12, provided they were postmarked on or before Election Day.
“We are nearing the finish line,” said Karen Brinson Bell, executive director of the State Board of Elections. “We ask that the public please be patient as county boards of elections, as required, continue to count all eligible ballots that arrive by mail, conduct thorough post-election audits and certify their results.” […]”
Mind you, the extended period of acceptance of absentee ballots was a change made via a lawsuit settlement between the Board, Attorney General Josh Stein, and Democrat Attorney Marc Elias (who’s been at the center of efforts in multiple swing states to loosen election rules).
The state law says such ballots can only be accepted for three days after the election. This was the subject of pre-election lawsuits, with the Supreme Court deciding to let it be, but now the high court is going to be dealing with the exact same issue again. In multiple states.
The order given by Justice Samuel Alito to Pennsylvania this weekend was to hold separate all ballots coming in after 8:00 PM on election day because that is the cut off in state law. The Board of Elections in that state also extended acceptance dates, but said Board does not have the power to change laws. That’s what the legislature is for, according to the Constitution of each state.
This may seem irrelevant because President Trump is all but guaranteed to win North Carolina, and even the Tillis victory for U.S. Senate looks like a done deal. However, there are several very close races (one for Chief Justice of the N.C. Supreme Court) that are still in play because of the tens of thousands of yet to be counted ballots.
If the Supreme Court holds that such election rules changes in Pennsylvania were unconstitutional, and therefore those later arriving ballots invalid, what will that mean for North Carolina?
That being said, it is interesting that the NCSBE also provided us Monday with some clarification on who ‘calls’ races and when.
“Election officials do not “call” contests for any candidate. Historically, the media or candidates have done that when the number of outstanding ballots in a contest is less than the vote difference between candidates or when it is clear that one candidate will ultimately prevail.
According to state law, county boards of elections will complete their processes and canvass the election on November 13. The State Board will meet on November 24 to certify final results.
As of Monday morning, about 94,900 voters who requested an absentee by-mail ballot had not yet returned an accepted ballot or voted in person during the early voting period. The number of these ballots ultimately received by county boards of elections and counted will be less than that because some voters cast their ballot in person on Election Day and others likely did not vote at all.
Additionally, as mentioned in Friday’s news release, more than 30,000 eligible ballots arrived at county boards of elections over the past several days. Those ballots that have not already been approved and counted will be considered by county boards of elections this week.
These numbers are approximations based on the best available data through the state’s election information management system.
Also, the 40,766 provisional ballots voted statewide will be researched to determine whether the voter was eligible, and the approved ballots will be reported on the Election Night Results website on November 12 and 13. In 2016, about 44 percent of provisional ballots cast statewide were counted. […]”
So, despite the semantics there, neither the officials, nor the media, ‘call’ a race in any official manner. That doesn’t happen for another couple weeks when the results are certified.
The same is true for Pennsylvania, Michigan, Arizona, etc., etc. Meaning, regardless of the current counts, results remain un-certifiable while multiple lawsuits work their way through the courts.
So, who’s counting votes in North Carolina Monday? Here’s the list: