What needs to happen for NC’s election results to be final?

MECKLENBURG COUNTY N.C. — ABC News projected Friday that President Donald Trump will win North Carolina in the 2020 election.

The state’s 15 electoral votes will go to Trump, putting him at a total of 232 electoral votes nationally. President-elect Joe Biden has 306 electoral votes after winning Georgia, according to ABC News.

North Carolina county boards of elections will hold their canvass meetings Friday to certify the ballots that have been counted for the 2020 election.

>> At 5 on Channel 9, we’re at those meetings and digging into candidate protests in certain races.

Absentee ballots postmarked by Election Day had until Thursday at 5 p.m. to arrive at the appropriate board of election office. Ballots from military and overseas voters received by 5 p.m. Nov. 12 were also counted.

Friday is the day we expect to get the final results from Mecklenburg County’s count of mail-in ballots. Races across North Carolina remain up in the air, and counties across the Tar Heel state are sending their results to the state Friday.

Then on Nov. 24, the State Board will certify final results from all the counties.

The race between President Donald Trump and Democratic nominee Joe Biden in the state was extremely close and people waited more than a week for absentee and provisional ballots to be counted. Trump won against Biden by more than 73,000 votes.

Channel 9 was at the Mecklenburg County Board of Elections last week as workers sorted through a batch of absentee ballots.

Officials told us 214 votes were processed Tuesday night.

Thursday was the final day to count mail-in ballots that were postmarked by Election Day. Any ballots that arrive from this point on cannot be counted.

One of the closest races in the state is for chief justice of the state Supreme Court, between Democrat Cheri Beasley and Republican Paul Newby.

On Friday afternoon, Newby had taken the lead in the vote count by a mere five votes before an updated total had Beasley ahead by 163 votes. Then, Newby took the lead again 30 minutes later.

Later Friday, Beasley was in the lead and currently is ahead by 35 votes.

Newby actually filed election protests Thursday in eight counties, on behalf of his race and the attorney general’s race. Newby was challenging the validity of some absentee ballots. County Commission candidate Matthew Ridenhour also filed protests concerning absentee ballots.

The State Board of Elections dismissed both of the protests in a 3-2 vote down party lines Friday. They can appeal to the state if they wish.

In the attorney general race, Democrat Josh Stein leads Republican Jim O’Neill by only about 14,000 votes.

“Now the state can see. Organizations can call who wins and all of those things and we see where some of the close races are and where we have to go from here,” Election Director Michael Dickerson said.


In North Carolina, there are no automatic recounts. The vote difference must be 10,000 votes or less for a candidate to demand a recount after the county canvass.

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. Candidates have until Nov. 17 to file a request.

County board of elections spent the last week counting absentee and provisional ballots.

Provisional ballots

Provisional ballots are cast on Election Day. They are given to voters whose eligibility to vote in the current election is in question. Those votes are held by election officials until the eligibility question can be researched and solved.

During the post-election period, county boards of election conduct the research to determine which provisional ballots should be counted. All eligible provisional ballots are counted during the canvass process. The post-election period ensures that the ballots of eligible voters will be counted as long as they meet statutory deadlines and comply with all other laws.


After each election, the State Board of Election randomly selects two precincts in every county, where paper ballots must be counted by hand for the highest contest on the ballot -- the presidential race in 2020 -- and compared with the tabulated results. Called the “sample hand-to-eye count,” this audit recounts the ballots in the random precincts to ensure reliability of machine-tabulated results.

Bipartisan teams at county boards of elections have been conducting these audits during the past week. The State Board of Elections conducts additional audits to verify the accuracy of the count. The results of all audits will be submitted to the State Board as part of the final certification of the election.

BOE doesn’t “call” elections

Many North Carolinians have contacted elections officials to ask why certain contests have been “called” for a particular candidate, while others have not.

“The state and county boards of elections have never -- and will never -- “call” or project a race for any candidate,” officials said in a news release.

Projections are made by media or candidates using unofficial results. In some cases, the trailing candidates “conceded” when they realized they could not make up the vote differential with the ballots still uncounted.

The State Board will certify final results on November 24. After that, the county boards of elections will issue certificates of election to the prevailing candidates.