RALEIGH – President Donald Trump leads former Vice President Joe Biden by 76,701 votes after all 100 counties reported election night results in Nov. 3’s general election. Turnout in the state reached almost 75% in total voter turnout following unprecedented participation in absentee by-mail and one-stop early voting.
But with around 117,000 absentee ballots still unaccounted for, national news media outlets have held off officially calling North Carolina’s 15 electoral votes for the president.
The number of outstanding absentee ballots will shrink in a multitude of ways, according to an Republican National Committee spokesperson in an interview with North State Journal on Wednesday.
“The math doesn’t add up for Biden campaign or (Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Cal) Cunningham campaign,” said the spokesperson. “Democrats are trying to make up a gap that is insurmountable.”
Expanding on the question of remaining ballots, it will be unclear how many of those voters who requested and received an absentee by-mail ballot opted instead to vote on Election Day. State law permits voters to do so and discard their mailed ballot.
After a lengthy litigation battle, ballots received through Nov. 12 will be counted – if they are determined to have been postmarked by Nov. 3.
N.C. State Board of Elections executive director Karen Brinson Bell said in a media availability Wednesday that the state would not be releasing additional results until Nov. 12 when all 100 counties would hold meetings to go through the absentee counting process.
Still, the RNC spokesperson says that those outstanding ballots wouldn’t affect the results of the state.
“More people started voting their support closer to election day,” said the spokesperson.
When asked about the potential makeup of those remaining ballots, the spokesperson said that the highest percentage of Democratic votes by mail came in September, and absentee by-mail votes received closer to election day would not hold the same percentage.
When asked about the composition of voting by method, the spokesperson said that the Trump campaign received more than they had even hoped for during early voting and election day. The spokesperson also said a larger portion of unaffiliated voters broke for Trump and Tillis closer to Election Day as well.
In addition to absentee ballots remaining, the verification process in regards to provisional ballots in counties will begin tomorrow. The spokesperson said they expect that number to be lower than 2016 due to the lower number of Election Day voters compared to 2016.
Sen. Thom Tillis declared victory late Tuesday night, and a statement from the Cunningham campaign said they “The State Board of Elections is continuing to count ballots, and we plan to allow that process to be carried out, so every voter can have their voice heard.” Tillis leads Cunningham by 96,707 votes according to the state’s election dashboard.
Another statewide race, to become chief justice of the state Supreme Court, is separated by only 3,742 votes. Republican Associate Justice Paul Newby leads appointed Chief Justice Cheri Beasley – the only judicial race Democrats could still hold after losing two seats on the state Supreme Court and being swept in the state’s five Court of Appeals races.
The RNC spokesperson said it’s time to “bring to a conclusion what was decided by the voters.”
“It defies understanding and reason, waiting 9 days will not change the results,” the spokesperson added.