The Transylvania Times -

Provisional Ballot Numbers Reported For N.C.


Last updated 11/6/2020 at 1:50pm

The following information comes from the N.C. State Board of Elections:

Under state law, elections officials must release the number of provisional ballots cast in each county by noon two days after the election. The State Board surveyed the 100 county boards of elections across North Carolina and provides the provisional ballot numbers by county below.

Provisional ballots cast on Election Day must still be researched to determine voter eligibility. Provisional ballots are cast when an individual’s name does not appear on the poll book or other questions arise about that person’s eligibility to vote or to vote a particular ballot.

After Election Day, each county board of elections meets before certifying the results to make decisions on provisional applications submitted by voters. If the board determines that the voter is eligible, the provisional ballot is counted. If the voter is eligible for some contests on the ballot but not others, the eligible contests will be counted for that voter. These ballots will be added to the results during the canvass process.

Ballots determined to be cast by eligible voters will be added to the results after county board absentee meetings scheduled through Nov. 13. The State Board is compiling a schedule of county board meetings and will release it as soon as possible. Out of 40,766 provisional ballots statewide, Transylvania County makes up 91.

As with any election, county boards of elections across North Carolina have begun the 10-day post-election process of counting the remaining ballots and conducting audits to verify the results.

The 100 bipartisan county boards will hold meetings to count the remaining provisional and absentee ballots and add them to unofficial election results on the Election Night Reporting website. Most of the meetings will be held on Nov. 12 or Friday, Nov. 13, but some will be held this week or early next week. Transylvania County's Canvass Day is Nov. 11. Unofficial results will be added to the totals in each county after these meetings. The State Board will provide a statewide schedule of absentee board meetings as soon as possible.

The final county canvass of results is Nov. 13. The state canvass is Nov. 24.

State law provides that county election boards must schedule post-election absentee board meetings at least two weeks before Election Day. The meeting schedule must be published once a week for two weeks in a newspaper. The law does not permit a county board to modify the meeting schedule after the election.

“We encourage the public to be patient and let the process unfold as it does in every election,” said Karen Brinson Bell, executive director of the State Board of Elections. “All results reported on election night are unofficial. The post-election process ensures that all eligible voters’ ballots are counted and that voters can be confident that the results are accurate. This is a long-established process. This year is no different.”

Outstanding ballots

County boards of elections must still count absentee by-mail ballots postmarked on or before Election Day. These will be counted if they arrive between Election Day and 5 p.m. Nov. 12. Military and overseas ballots received by 5 p.m. November 12 are also counted.

As of Wednesday afternoon, the universe of absentee by-mail ballots that could still be counted is approximately 116,000. That number includes all outstanding absentee by-mail ballots for which the voter did not vote in person during the early voting period from Oct. 15-31.

The number of absentee ballots ultimately counted will be fewer than 117,000 because some voters will not return their ballots and others voted in person on Election Day. There is no way to know how many of those voters voted on Election Day for at least several days as counties perform the post-election task of assigning voter history.

The county boards of elections will add all eligible ballots to the unofficial results during upcoming board meetings.

North Carolina elections officials never have and never will “call” an election. The media and candidates may do that, but election agencies do not.

The State Board certifies the winner only after canvass, including a series of post-election audits conducted by state and county elections officials.

“Regardless of vote differentials, we never stop counting until all eligible voters’ ballots are counted and added to the totals, which are audited and certified,” Brinson Bell said.

For additional information about post-election processes, including audits and recounts, please see here:


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