About 10 county boards of elections in North Carolina are meeting early this week to finalize their 2020 election results, with a few counties correcting discrepancies in election results discovered during the post-election canvass process.
Results reported on election night are always unofficial. Canvass is the official process of determining the votes have been counted and tabulated correctly, resulting in the authentication of the official results.
Most county boards of elections certified their results late last week. However, a few are still working with State Board staff to ensure all votes are counted properly before they complete their canvass. Counties may delay canvass for a “reasonable time” if all aspects of the canvass process were not completed on Friday.
As counties continue their canvass processes, unofficial results will be updated accordingly on the State Board’s Election Results Dashboard.
“The canvass process exists to ensure votes are counted accurately,” said Karen Brinson Bell, executive director of the State Board of Elections. “This is the process working as it is supposed to work. This election will not be certified until we are certain the results are accurate.”
Please see below for information about counties that will meet early this week to complete their canvasses.
Final County Canvasses
Craven County: To complete its canvass, the Craven County Board of Elections will meet at 2 p.m. Monday at the Board of Elections One-Stop/Training Room in the Craven County Government Administration Building, 406 Craven St., New Bern.
The ballot of one possible double voter may need to be removed from the results.
Duplin County: The Duplin County Board of Elections will convene at 10 a.m. Monday to conduct the preliminary consideration of a protest filed by Paul Newby: https://dl.ncsbe.gov/Requests/2020/2020%20General%20Protest%20Filings/Duplin%20County%20Newby.pdf
All ballots are in for Duplin County.
New Hanover County: The New Hanover County Board of Elections will meet at 1 p.m. Monday to conduct the preliminary consideration of a protest filed by Paul Newby: https://dl.ncsbe.gov/Requests/2020/2020%20General%20Protest%20Filings/New%20Hanover%20County%20Newby.pdf
All ballots are in for New Hanover County.
Robeson County: The Robeson County Board of Elections will meet at 1:30 p.m. Monday to complete its canvass.
All ballots were tabulated for each one-stop site in Robeson County and the results tapes were printed. However, the results data for the Pembroke Fire Department one-stop early voting sites was inadvertently not uploaded to the state’s results database and therefore not reported with the rest of the one-stop early voting results on election night. During canvass reconciliation procedures, staff identified this oversight.
The county board will print a new results tape on Monday to verify that the results have not changed since Election Day and then add the results for 1,951 ballots to the overall one-stop early voting total.
Also, Robeson County still must add about 700 provisional ballots and about 30 absentee ballots to the final results on Monday.
Rockingham County: The Rockingham County Board of Elections will meet early this week to finish its canvass. Details are being finalized.
Sampson County: The Sampson County Board of Elections plans to meet at 4 p.m. Monday to count about five additional votes and complete its canvass.
Washington County: Washington County inadvertently duplicated its absentee by mail data in the election night reporting system, resulting in two records for every by-mail vote in the unofficial results reported on election night. This error was detected through required audits during the canvass process.
The Washington County Board of Elections will meet at 9 a.m. Monday to amend its canvass, and results will be updated accordingly on the Election Results Dashboard.
This type of reporting problem was possible only because Washington County uses an older model of tabulation equipment. Newer equipment, which most N.C. counties use, does not allow duplicate media to be processed.
Additionally, at least two counties – Durham and Stanly – will “re-canvass” Monday to make minor modifications to their canvasses.
After all counties have completed their canvasses, any mandatory recounts would be conducted by county boards of elections. For statewide contests, the vote difference must be 10,000 votes or fewer for a candidate who is the runner-up to demand a recount. For non-statewide contests, the difference between the candidates must be 1 percent or less of the total votes cast in the contest.
Requests for recounts in most single-county contests are due by 5 p.m. Monday. Such requests in statewide and multicounty contests are due by noon Tuesday.
If a recount is demanded, the State Board of Elections office would issue a schedule, and the counties would conduct recounts individually during open meetings.
Counties would re-run every ballot through a tabulator and the results of the recount would be compared to the results of the original count. See the following rule for details on this process: 08 NCAC 09 .0107.
State Board Audits
Prior to state canvass scheduled for November 24, the State Board conducts various audits of election results, including the “Voter History Audit.” Here’s how that audit is conducted:
When a voter checks in to vote at an early voting site or an Election Day polling place, or submits and absentee by-mail ballot, the voter receives a voter history record for that election.
When ballots are run through tabulators, tabulation software provides election return data that identifies the number of ballots cast in that election.
The “Voter History Audit” compares the “voter history” number with the number of physical ballots cast in that election. These two numbers should generally match, but may be slightly off for valid reasons, such as if a voter checks in at a polling place and then decides not to vote.
This audit is designed to identify certain problems or fraud, such as ballot stuffing, erroneous manual entries, user error, or certain ballot coding issues.
The State Board conducts additional audits summarized here: https://www.ncsbe.gov/about-elections/election-security/post-election-p…
The State Board will not certify results unless evidence from the audits show the results are accurate.
The State Board of Elections will certify statewide results for all federal, statewide, multi-district and judicial contests at a public meeting held at 11 a.m. Tuesday, Nov. 24. Results in each contest are not considered official until certified by the State Board. After state canvass, the board of elections with jurisdiction over each contest will issue a certificate of election to the prevailing candidate.
The Electoral College meets at noon December 14. Electors’ names will be announced when the Secretary of State receives certified election results from the State Board and notifies the governor of the electors’ names. For more about the Electoral College, go here: https://www.sosnc.gov/divisions/electoral_college.