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Thousands of NC ballots still to be counted

Posted November 9, 2012
Updated November 10, 2012

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— Think the elections were over on Tuesday? Think again.

Elections officials statewide are processing more than 73,000 votes that haven't yet been counted, and these extra ballots could determine who wins two close races.

Republican Dan Forest leads Democrat Linda Coleman by fewer than 11,000 votes out of more than 4.5 million cast statewide for lieutenant governor. The race for the 7th Congressional District is even closer, with only 411 votes between incumbent Democrat Mike McIntyre and Republican David Rouzer.

"I would believe that the margin of victory will narrow as we do our work," Gary Bartlett, executive director of the State Board of Elections, said Friday.

Most of the uncounted votes are provisional ballots, which are given to voters who aren't in the records at the polls. Sometimes, they show up at the wrong precinct. Other times, it's a clerical error. Some voters aren't even eligible.

Provisional ballots aren't counted until after Election Day, giving officials time to verify whether they're legitimate. Mail-in absentee ballots also are counted late.

Bartlett says provisional and mail-in votes usually mirror regular votes, but when a race is tight, the slightest deviation could change the winner. There were more than 10,000 provision ballots in the 7th Congressional District alone, he said.

"It's very important that everyone understand (that) 'unofficial' really means unofficial, because there are a lot of ballots out there that still do need to be counted," Wake County elections director Cherie Poucher said. "We want to guarantee that every eligible vote is counted." Provisional ballots, absentee ballots Provisional, absentee ballots could swing couple of NC elections

About 4,400 provisional ballots and at least 2,000 mail-in ballots still need to be counted in Wake County, as do several hundred email ballots from military and overseas voters.

"The other (thing) we would still be waiting for would be the military and overseas by mail. They have until next Thursday, right before canvass," Poucher said.

County elections officials are required to have their official totals, or canvass, completed by next Friday.

Based on historical patterns, Bartlett said he expects about 25 percent of the mail-in ballots that were requested won’t be returned and about half of the provisional ballots won’t be verified. That still leaves between 31,000 and 35,000 valid ballots to be counted by the end of next week.

Candidates have until Nov. 20 to ask for a recount if the final counts are within 1 percent of the total number of votes cast in that race. The election results won't be certified by the state till the end of the month.

16 Comments

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  • whatelseisnew Nov 9, 6:45 p.m.

    "I predict Roy Cooper will still have a full 100% of the counted votes for Attorney General when they're done."

    Yep I voted for Roy. I thought he did a good job. Maybe we could have him replace Holder and get someone honest holding that job. Nah, Obama would not stand for it.

  • whatelseisnew Nov 9, 6:44 p.m.

    "Pay for 4 minutes of Iraq War costs we borrowed..."

    ANd the Afghanistan war costs that we borrowed that Obama supported????? Nothing about that??? Oh and the completely wasted Stimulus, nothing about that??? Oh and the bombing of Libya???? nothing about that??? Oh and the defunct green energy companies????? Nothing about that??? Oh and all the people put out of work by Obama energy policies???? nothing about that. Of course not. By the way, Democrats held control of the Congress during Bushes second term, they could have chosen NOT TO BORROW the money, but they instead preferred to have it as a campaign issue. and now you see the same old Obama. Compromise, NOPE. Big surprise, he comprised on nothing for his first four years thus following policies that were and still are job killers. The Senate is going to have to work with the House to get around this foolish President.

  • whatelseisnew Nov 9, 6:38 p.m.

    "ARE YOU KIDDING ME?!?! LAST I CHECKED, THE PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION WAS ON THE SAME BALLOT, WRAL! IF YOUR HIGHLY IMPORTANT STATE RACES ARE YET TO BE DETERMINED THEN SO IS THE PRESIDENTIAL RACE"

    Depends on whether there are enough uncounted votes to change the current results for the President slot.

  • whatelseisnew Nov 9, 6:37 p.m.

    "Trying is one thing. Succeeding as in FL in 2000 is another."

    Who cheated? Bush or was it Gore when he wanted to only recount certain counties. That mess was created by the various counties some of whom attempted to make up their own recount rules post-election. It could all have been avoided if a recount was done according to the State Law in place on election day. The reality is, while it is certainly possible Gore won the vote, Bush might also have won. It is something we are never going to know.
    While I did not want to see Obama elected, either time, just as with McCain, Obama was the clear winner. thank God that Florida is not the decider this year. As I understand it they STILL have not declared a winner. I think they need a special Presidential voting machine. Label the buttons as follows.

    For Dem button label is MASH THIS
    For REP button label is Mash THAT.
    For third party label is MASH ANOTHER

  • independent_thinker Nov 9, 6:29 p.m.

    "What could the state do with a MILLION DOLLARS?"

    Pay for 4 minutes of Iraq War costs we borrowed....

  • smegma Nov 9, 6:26 p.m.

    ARE YOU KIDDING ME?!?! LAST I CHECKED, THE PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION WAS ON THE SAME BALLOT, WRAL! IF YOUR HIGHLY IMPORTANT STATE RACES ARE YET TO BE DETERMINED THEN SO IS THE PRESIDENTIAL RACE

  • TruthBKnown Banned Again01 Nov 9, 6:21 p.m.

    When Obama is done, even dems are going to WISH it was 2000 again.

  • paultaylorsr100 Nov 9, 6:00 p.m.

    If true then it means they had a great teacher in GW.

    Forever the blame game.

  • computer trainer Nov 9, 5:59 p.m.

    Well, if Linda Coleman demands a recount, she will have cost the state of NC over a million dollars. What could the state do with a MILLION DOLLARS?

  • JohnnyMcRonny Nov 9, 5:52 p.m.

    "Dems still trying to cheat." - TruthBKnown Returned

    Trying is one thing. Succeeding as in FL in 2000 is another.

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