Close presidential race could delay final result

by: Scott Wickersham Updated:

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CHARLOTTE, N.C. —

As Election Day nears, some experts wonder if we will even find out on Tuesday night who wins the presidential election.

It's been a contentious race that could last beyond Election Day.

Political expert Dr. Michael Bitzer said lawyers could file lawsuits in states where the presidential results are close, and for various reasons.

“Long lines. People not being able to cast their ballots. Being challenged at the polling places,” Bitzer said.

Local elections officials don't expect any lawsuits here.

“We have had some complaints -- ‘Someone gave me something I didn’t want.’ But nothing I can think of over the last two weeks. It was a fairly good process,” said Michael Dickerson, director of the Mecklenburg County Board of Elections.

In fact, 40 percent of registered voters in Mecklenburg County voted early, so Dickerson expects smooth sailing Tuesday.

But that doesn’t mean the lawyers aren't already here.

On Monday, Eyewitness News found a voter registration group handing out complaint forms that are then given to an attorney.

But most complaints aren't serious.

“It could be misinformation. When we do investigate, it turns out not to be the case,” Robert Dawkins said.

Still, the Department of Justice is sending 780 election monitors to polling locations around the country Tuesday. They will make sure minority voters, those with disabilities or who speak a foreign language are not discriminated against.

But Bitzer said the initial challenges could be based solely on the accuracy of the vote count.

“In Ohio, if there is less than a half percent, then it’s an automatic recount,” he said. “It could play out for the next several weeks.”

Lawsuits and recounts aside, Bitzer thinks it's possible we may not know the presidential winner until Wednesday morning simply because of how close the count could be.