North Carolina elections officials are asking for the public’s patience as the state remains up for grabs in the race for U.S. president and a key seat in the U.S. Senate.
Officials are in the post-election process of counting remaining ballots and conducting audits to verify the results. State Board of Elections Executive Director Karen Brinson Bell and State Board Chair Damon Circosta said 117,000 outstanding absentee ballots didn’t have recorded votes as of Wednesday afternoon. Some of the people might have voted in person or did not return their ballots at all, Bell and Circosta said during a press update Wednesday.
“Our job is to get the count right as fast as we can but above all, correct,” Circosta said about the record-breaking election night where nearly 74% of North Carolina’s registered voters participated.
President Trump held a narrow lead over former Vice President Joe Biden for North Carolina’s highly coveted 15 electoral votes. With more than 5.48 million votes counted, incumbent Republican Thom Tillis led Democrat Cal Cunningham in a race that could help the GOP hold control of the U.S. Senate. Other close races are happening for positions on the state’s Supreme Court, Council of State and state legislature.
Under state rules, election officials may count ballots received through 5 p.m. on Nov. 12. Although many votes are counted, election officials said to trust the process and allow time to count every vote.
County board of election officials will certify results — also called canvass — during a public meeting on Nov. 13. State election officials will canvass on Nov. 24.
Bell said she hopes that people understand this is how North Carolina processes its election votes.
Katrina Louis contributed to this story.