2020 Election Certification


On this page, you will find information on how the 2020 election results were certified, the results of audits, as well as details about the testing that goes into every voting machine before an election is held. There is no credible evidence that the certified results of the 2020 general election are not accurate. Elected officials from both sides of the aisle have stated North Carolina’s election was conducted fairly.

Mis- and dis-information about the 2020 general election are rampant. To that end, we’ve published Combating Misinformation to respond to inaccuracies about elections. For more information about election security in North Carolina, please visit the Election Security section of our website.

To view the State Board’s response to questions about conducting a “forensic audit” of the 2020 general election or allowing the opening of random voting machines to see if they contain modems, see Response to Calls for a Forensic Audit of 2020, Random Opening of Voting Machines.

How the Election Results Were Certified

The North Carolina State State Board of Elections certified the 2020 general election in a bipartisan vote. This final certification came after the 100 county boards of elections counted all eligible ballots and certified their results individually. As part of routine post-election processes prior to certification, every county conducted a hand-to-eye recount of two randomly selected precincts. Find those details below.

Hand-to-Eye Recount and Sample Audit

During the hand-to-eye sample audit, every ballot in those precincts was counted by hand by bipartisan teams and compared with the results counted by machine. In all, the county boards counted all ballots in more than 150 Election Day precincts and 30 early voting sites and compared those counts to the machine counts. Also, more than a dozen counties conducted hand-to-eye audits of all mail-in absentee ballots.

Of the 200 voting groups audited, only 13 audits found any difference between the machine count and the human count, and all discrepancies were three votes or fewer. Most differences were attributed to human error during voting, such as a voter marking outside of the bubble, or to human error during the hand count itself. In other words, the audit showed machines counted ballots accurately.

Download the results of the 2020 hand-to-eye sample audit (XLS)

Additional Post-Election Audits

The State Board conducted several additional post-election audits as well before certifying, including:

  • Voter history audit, which is designed to identify certain problems or fraud, such as ballot stuffing, fraudulent manual entries, or issues with media cards;
  • Votes cast audit, which ensures any transcription errors are below a contest’s margin of victory; and
  • Deeper audits for close contests, which include a review of the disposition of provisional ballots.

Find the results of the 2020 election audits:

Download the November 3, 2020, general election audit report (PDF)

Statewide Recount and Subsequent Hand-to-Eye Sample Audit

Every ballot in the very close NC Supreme Court Chief Justice contest – about 5.4 million statewide – was re-run through a tabulator as part of a statewide recount, which confirmed the initial contest results. A subsequent sample hand-to-eye recount also confirmed the winner in that contest.

Voting Machine Logic and Accuracy Tests

Before every election, including the 2020 general election, logic and accuracy tests are conducted on every voting machine used in North Carolina. This involves running marked test ballots through every tabulator to ensure that the machines are working properly and that ballots are properly coded. These pre-election tests of voting systems and post-election audits of results are some of the many processes that help ensure accurate elections in North Carolina.