Election excitement in North Carolina isn’t over yet.
Democrat Joe Biden on Saturday received the necessary 270 electoral votes to win the 2020 presidential race, but North Carolina hasn’t called its winner yet. As of Sunday night, Republican incumbent Donald Trump leads with 50% of votes, while Biden has 48.6%. Around 98% of the state’s votes have been counted.
North Carolina’s U.S. Senate race is also close, but Republican incumbent Thom Tillis has retained a small lead against Democratic challenger Cal Cunningham by almost 100,000 votes. As of Sunday night, Tillis has 48.72% of the vote, while Cunningham sits behind at 46.95%. Libertarian Shannon W. Bray and Constitution Party candidate Kevin E. Hayes racked up 3.10% and 1.23% of the vote, respectively.
The News & Observer reported on Friday that there were still 166,000 potential votes left to count across the state. This included 95,000 outstanding mail-in ballots, around 30,000 accepted but untallied mail-in votes and 41,000 provisional ballots.
Outstanding mail-in ballots are ballots requested by voters that have not yet been returned. The current tally does not account for the fact that some voters changed their minds and voted in-person on Election Day.
About 35,000 mail-in ballots have been accepted since Election Day, but many of these have not been included in the state’s unofficial results yet. Mail ballots postmarked by Nov. 3 will be accepted until Nov. 12., and most of North Carolina’s 100 county boards will wait until then to meet and count the ballots.
Provisional ballots are cast when there are problems at polling centers; for example, if a person is unsure of their eligibility to vote, they can cast a provisional ballot that is either later accepted or rejected by the county election board.
The News & Observer report noted that the incoming mail-in votes are unlikely to affect the uncalled presidential and U.S. Senate races but could impact down-ballot races with smaller margins.
N.C. Supreme Court Chief Justice Cheri Beasley, a Democrat, is barely trailing behind Republican challenger Paul Newby, with the two having 49.98% and 50.02% of the vote, respectively. Only 2,617 votes separate the candidates as of Sunday night.
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