Unprecedented levels of early votes cast on the Outer Banks ahead of Tuesday’s election

Voters line up outside Kill Devil Hills Town Hall on the first day of early voting. [Sam Walker photo]

Just one day left in the campaign ahead of the 2020 Election on Tuesday, when polls will be open in North Carolina from 6:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m.

Early voting concluded on Saturday across the state, and the turnout has set all kinds of new records.

Almost 62 percent of all registered North Carolina voters, over 4.5 million, have already cast a ballot between early voting and mail-in absentee ballots. That is over 95 percent of the total votes in the 2016 general election.

Dare County has the most ballots already cast in the immediate area with 18,831, followed by Pasquotank at 15,556 and Currituck with 10,079.

In the 2016 general election, Dare County cast a total of 16,674 votes and Currituck had 9,959 voters turnout.

While its expected to be a close finish in a number of races up and down the ballot, there’s a good chance we’ll know how things are going to shake out in North Carolina on Tuesday night.

State elections officials said Sunday that the unofficial returns reported by the end of Election Night will include 97 percent or more of all ballots cast in North Carolina.

“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.

The remaining ballots, including provisional ballots and absentee by-mail ballots that arrive after Election Day, will be counted and added to the totals during the post-election canvass period.

One change from previous elections is that mail-in ballots that are postmarked by Election Day can be accepted by county election boards up until 5:30 p.m. on Nov. 12.

The usual deadline for mail-in ballots to arrive is three days after election day, but was changed as part of a settlement of a lawsuit over COVID-19 pandemic-related alterations.

“Please remember that all results reported on election night are unofficial. We will post results as quickly as possible, but our primary objective will be accuracy more than speed,” said Karen Brinson Bell, executive director of the State Board of Elections.

“State and county elections officials take many steps after every election to ensure all eligible votes are counted and the results are audited and accurate,” Bell said.

Elections are far from over on election night, which has always been the case.

In the days that follow, the county boards of elections count the remaining ballots, research the eligibility of each provisional ballot, conduct a series of post-election audits, and conduct any necessary recounts. The State Board conducts additional audits to ensure a fair and accurate count.

These post-election processes culminate in the final certification of results, also called canvass. County boards of elections will hold their canvass meeting at 11 a.m. November 13. The State Board will meet on November 24 to certify the election.

All results are unofficial until the statewide certification, or canvass, scheduled for November 24, during a meeting of the State Board.

Starting at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Sam Walker will be on News Talk 92.3 WZPR and the OBX Today Facebook page covering all the local and statewide races, plus ABC News with updates on what’s happening across the country.

You can also hear live updates at the top and bottom of the hour starting at 8 p.m. on Beach 104, Big 94.5 and 99.1 The Sound. And we’ll have a rundown of the election night returns here at OBX Today.

About Sam Walker 1512 Articles
Sam Walker was news director for OBXToday.com, Beach 104, 99.1 The Sound, Big 94.5 WCMS and Z 92.3 from August 2011 to March 2022.