RALEIGH, N.C. – This release serves to update the public on the status of general election results and certain processes now underway across the state.
State law established Friday (Nov. 18) as the date for local certification of election results in the state’s 100 counties. This initial canvass of results confirms that all votes have been counted and tabulated correctly. That is followed by a final certification of statewide totals by the State Board of Elections. Counties may, however, delay canvass for a “reasonable time” if the initial counting has not been completed. Many, if not all, counties are expected to do just that.
Postponing canvass is necessary when certain decisions have not been made regarding provisional ballots, certain types of election protests are pending, or a delay is necessary to comply with a judicial order. The counties have good reason to extend their canvasses this year, including a recent court order.
In the final days of early voting, a federal court required election officials and the Division of Motor Vehicles (DMV) to create a new review process for certain voters who claim they registered or changed their address at the DMV, even if no record of registration could be found. The State Board acted immediately to create necessary procedures and to print special materials for North Carolina’s 2,700 precincts in the week before Election Day. The order requires counties to approve a provisional ballot if the voter affirms she either registered or changed her address at the DMV, unless DMV can locate a signed form declining voter registration services during a certain period of time. The process of locating that data remains ongoing.
After counties canvass, a statewide candidate who trails by 10,000 votes or fewer may demand a recount by noon on the second business day. If a recount is demanded, the counties would conduct recounts individually in public view.
The State Board of Elections is scheduled to meet at 11 a.m. Tuesday, Nov. 29, for the statewide canvass.
Meanwhile, a number of election protests have been filed with county boards of elections across the state. If the protest concerns the counting of ballots, county boards should meet as soon as possible to determine whether there is probable cause that a violation or irregularity occurred. If so, the boards will conduct a full hearing on the protest. Protests can result in different outcomes, including dismissal, re-tabulation, or other options spelled out in G.S. § 163-182.10. Appeals are to the State Board of Elections.
The State Board of Elections works with 100 County Boards of Elections to ensure elections are conducted lawfully and fairly. “The canvassing process ensures that elections are fair and results are reliable,” said Kim Westbrook Strach, executive director of the State Board. “This agency will do what is necessary to protect the integrity of the election and give confidence to all North Carolinians.”