By Mark Jurkowitz | Outer Banks Voice on November 2, 2020
At a Nov. 2 news briefing at which state election officials were asked about a range of potentially disruptive scenarios – from voter intimidation to postal delays — North Carolina State Board of Elections Executive Director Karen Brinson Bell declared confidently: “We are ready for Election Day in North Carolina.”
“It has been a very peaceful and incredibly smooth early voting period for these seventeen days,” she added, referring to the in-person early voting period that ended on Oct. 31.
Thus far, the state has set a record with about 3.6 million early in-person ballots cast and more than 900,000 absentee mail-in ballots already cast. (That mail-in figure compares to less than 200,000 ballots cast that way in the 2016 election cycle.)
In response to a reporter’s question, Board of Elections Chair Damon Circosta said that in total, about 4.7 million North Carolinians voted in 2016. This year, with Election Day still to come, close to 4.6 million have already cast their ballots.
State election officials also indicated that for mail-in ballots to be counted, they must be postmarked no later than Nov. 3 or brought into the local county board of elections by 5 p.m. on Nov. 3. The deadline for a mail in ballot to arrive, in order for it to be counted, is Nov. 12.
Executive Director Bell also stated at the briefing that after the polls close tomorrow evening, the unofficial results that will reported will include all in-person early voting ballots; all main-in absentee votes received by Nov. 2; and all Nov. 3 in-person votes with the exception of provisional ballots. That she added, should account for about 97% of all ballots cast in the election.
In one sign of the attention being paid to North Carolina — which is widely viewed as a key battleground state in this election — the questions at the media briefing came not only from reporters in the state, but also from those working at national media outlets as well.
‘In an unprecedented election year, local elections officials assure all voters that, though a final count may take longer than previous election years, all votes will be counted.
“Dare County voters can expect unofficial voting totals for this county to be available on Election Day night or in the wee hours of the morning,” said Dare County Board of Elections Chairman Sandy Semans Ross.
Due to a substantial increase in early voting and voting by mail this year, Dare County elections officials ask voters and the media to be patient regarding the timeline of announcing election results. Election officials advise that delayed results do not indicate a problem or compromise accuracy. To see a rough timeline of the expected reporting of unofficial results, visit https://www.ncsbe.gov/results-data/election-results/election-night-reporting-timeline
Dare County has trained more than 140 poll workers at 16 polling locations to ensure they are well-equipped to assist voters and protect against fraud and potential security threats.
America’s counties work tirelessly to ensure the security and integrity of the election process. Counties defend against cyber attacks and traditional security threats. After the election, counties secure vote tallies, audit the election and safeguard voter information.
On Election Day, Dare County’s polls will be open from 6:30 a.m. until 7:30 p.m. To learn more about Dare County election procedures, visit www.darenc.com/elections
To access updated election results after the polls close on Tuesday evening, visit the NC State Board of Elections Results Dashboard at https://er.ncsbe.gov/”