Celebration and consternation greeted the weekend announcement that former Vice President Joe Biden had secured the electoral votes to become President of the United States. President Donald Trump has so far refused to concede and continues to baselessly insist there was widespread fraud and election irregularities.
But here in North Carolina, the counting continues with more than 160,000 votes still outstanding. The remaining mail-in and provisional ballots aren’t likely to change the results of the presidential, U.S. House, Senate or gubernatorial races in North Carolina, which were won by decisive enough margins to stay stable. But there are a number of important down-ticket races for which they could prove decisive — most prominently the races for state Attorney General and Chief Justice of the state Supreme Court.
Today, a by-the-numbers look at what’s left in North Carolina’s count, when it will all be over and what could change. All results remain unofficial until the North Carolina State Board of Elections certifies them Nov. 24.
100 — Number of county boards of election in North Carolina. They must meet to tally ballots and officially submit the results to the state board of elections. Most will begin doing so by Nov. 12. Some, including Anson, Cabarrus, Edgecombe, Graham, Hoke, Mecklenburg, Perquimans, Robeson and Sampson, started last week.
166,000 — Estimated potential number of ballots still to be counted, including mail-in ballots that have arrived but haven’t yet been tallied, those that could still arrive before Nov. 12, as well as provisionals.
41,000 — Estimated number of provisional ballots cast in this year’s election. With increased mail-in voting this election and fewer people voting on Election Day, that number is down from about 60,000 four years ago. In 2016 county boards ended up rejecting more than half of the provisional ballots cast due to problems such as eligibility or their being improperly filled out. Voters fill out provisionals for a variety of reasons, including arriving at the wrong precinct on Election Day.
95,000 — Estimated number of outstanding mail-in ballots. These are ballots that were requested but not yet returned. Any of these ballots postmarked by Election Day, properly filled out and arriving by the Nov. 12 deadline will be eligible to be counted. It’s unclear how many of this number might have been requested by people who planned to vote absentee but decided to instead and vote in-person. In that case, their absentee ballots will not count.
35,000 — Estimated number of mail-in ballots that have arrived and been accepted at county county boards of election, but not yet tallied.
75,371 — Number of votes separating Republican President Donald Trump (2,733,645) and his Democratic challenger, President-elect Joe Biden (2,658,274), in North Carolina.
95,739 — Number of votes separating incumbent Republican Sen. Thom Tillis (2,641,974) and Democratic challenger, Cal Cunningham (2,546,235).
241,961 — Number of votes separating incumbent Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper (2,806,655) and his Republican challenger, Lt. Gov. Dan Forest (2,564,694).
2,617 — Number of votes currently separating Republican challenger, Associate Supreme Court Justice Paul Newby (2,672,328) and incumbent Democratic Supreme Court Chief Justice Cheri Beasley (2,669,711)
11,827 — Number of votes separating Democratic incumbent Attorney General Josh Stein (2,687,539) and Republican challenger, Jim O’Neill (2,675,712).
Source: NC State Board of Elections as of Saturday, Nov. 7. Some results could change today.