LOCAL ELECTION UPDATES: No Big Complications Counting Votes In Mecklenburg County
The vote counting in Mecklenburg County tonight proceeded without any major complications. At the Board of Elections office, precinct workers began arriving with their ballot boxes starting around 8 p.m., just half an hour after the majority of precincts closed.
Election workers brought the ballot boxes in and began uploading data on the ballots from special USB drives from each precinct. These encrypted drives ensure quick uploading of results. County boards double-check these ballot totals before uploading them to the North Carolina State Board of Elections’ website.
After a busy first two hours of tabulating and uploading results, the Mecklenburg County Board of Election was finished by 10:30 p.m - save for one precinct, Precinct 220 in Mint Hill. At 10:45 p.m., the last box from Precinct 220 was delivered, and Mecklenburg County posted the last of its Election Day precinct results.
The last box...Precinct 220’s ballot box arrives from Mint Hill, NC at the Mecklenburg BOE at 10:45pm (the USB stick with 220’s tabulated data on was already here, apparently the poll worker forgot the box). All told, a pretty speedy count here in Mecklenburg County. pic.twitter.com/2E71j9Xqjv— Michael Falero (@michaelfalero) November 4, 2020
Some votes remain to be counted, including absentee by mail ballots received by the Election Day deadline but before 5 p.m. Monday, plus provisional ballots cast today that must first be verified.
NC Results Won't Be Reported Until After 8:15 p.m.
Updated 9:16 p.m.
Precincts drop off ballots earlier tonight at the Mecklenburg County Board of Elections.
- Michael Falero
NC State Board of Elections Extended Voting At 6 Precincts
Updated 6:49 p.m.
The North Carolina State Board of Elections held a second emergency meeting to extend voting at six precincts around the state. The sites in question were three precincts in Sampson County, three in Warren County and one in Cabarrus County.
The precincts were flagged for a range of issues, from tabulators not accepting ballots to printers not working and poll workers not being able to log in to machines. These issues led to delays in the opening of these precincts, shortening how much time voters could vote. The State Board of Elections tries to keep every precinct open for 13 hours on Election Day.
After discussing the details of the delays with local elections board chairs, the state board voted to approve extensions of voting hours at the six sites based on how long the sites were unavailable to voters. The extensions ranged from 21 minutes to 40 minutes.
In Cabarrus County, the Flowes Store Volunteer Fire station got a 39-minute extension and will close at 8:09 p.m. Currently, one precinct in North Carolina has an extension of 45 minutes, meaning no results can be released in the state until 8:15 p.m.
— Michael Falero
Printing Error Delays Counting Of 13,500 Votes In SC County
Updated 6:37 p.m.
The counting of more than 13,000 votes in one South Carolina county will be delayed because of a printing error.
The mail-in ballots in Dorchester County did not have the proper bars, called “timing marks” printed at the top so the scanner used to count votes can't register them, Dorchester County Election Commissioner Todd Billman said at a news conference Tuesday.
The error won't affect anyone's vote, Billman said.
After regular votes are counted, Billman said election workers will make a copy of all the ballots that can't be scanned, then take those copies and manually enter the votes into an election machine to be tallied.
The new votes will then be compared to the original ballots to make sure they match, according to the official.
Billman wouldn't say how long that might take but added that Dorchester County's full results will be finished by the Friday deadline to certify returns.
“This issue will not prevent any vote from being counted," Billman said. “All it will do is take it a little longer to get your ballet to count."
More than 63,000 votes were cast in Dorchester County in the 2016 election and more than 2 million votes were cast across South Carolina in 2016.
Results in the U.S. House races between Rep. Joe Cunningham and Republican challenger Nancy Mace as well as Rep. Jim Clyburn and Republican challenger John McCollum may both be delayed by the unscanned ballots.
The same company that improperly printed the Dorchester County ballots also printed others across South Carolina, but Billman and state election officials said no other counties were affected.
— The Associated Press
Man With Gun Arrested At Charlotte Voting Precinct
Updated 3:44 p.m.
Charlotte-Mecklenburg police arrested a man Tuesday on a trespassing charge at a polling site in the University City area.
CMPD says it responded to a complaint of possible voter intimation at about 10:30 a.m. CMPD says 36-year-old Justin Dunn of Charlotte voted at the Oasis Shrine Temple and then loitered outside the precinct while legally carrying an unconcealed firearm. A precinct official told him to leave with officers present. He was also banned from returning.
Dunn left, but CMPD says he returned about two hours later. CMPD then arrested him on a charge of second-degree trespassing.
— Konata Edwards
No Long Lines Or Waits With Most People Voting Early Or By Mail
Updated 2:30 p.m.
No results will be reported in North Carolina until 8:15 p.m because of late starts at four precincts in the state, including one in Carbarrus County. During a 1 p.m. emergency meeting, the state Board of Elections today extended hours at the four precincts by the number of minutes they opened late.
At a 1 p.m. emergency meeting, election officials say precincts in Cabarrus, Guilford, and Sampson counties were affected. The longest delay, in Sampson County, was 45 minutes.
In Cabarrus County, computer problems delayed the opening by 17 minutes. Elections Director Carol Soles said election workers at First Missionary Baptist Church were having problems with printers, and didn’t open the door for voters.
State law allows for voting hours to be extended if precincts open more than 15 minutes late.
Overall, the day has gone relatively smoothly in the Charlotte area. From an excited teenager who is voting for the first time to a disillusioned man who almost didn’t vote, polling places across the Charlotte region started seeing voters as soon as the doors opened for Election Day.
But there weren’t really any long waits or lines.
John Crew turned 18 years old in September. He showed up at his precinct at Forest Hills Church in south Charlotte on Tuesday to cast his ballot.
“My dad convinced me that since this is my first time voting I should go and actually see what it’s like," Crew said. "Not just mail in (my) ballot or doing anything like that."
On the other side of the enthusiasm spectrum, there’s Doneke Wilson. The 47-year-old almost didn’t go to Precinct 24 at the Betty Rae Thomas Recreation Center. Wilson says he’s fed up with the political climate in the country, and didn’t think it mattered if he voted not.
“I just felt like it’s the right thing to do,” Wilson said. “I would like to see change. I’m getting older. My kids are growing so I would like the world to be a little different for them as opposed to what I came up in. “
Neither Crew nor Wilson had to wait to vote. Elections officials in Mecklenburg County say voting is going smoothly.
Jayne Cook, the chief judge for Precinct 24 says it’s slow, but she’s fine with that. She says most of the registered voters in that west Charlotte neighborhood already cast their ballots.
The State Board of Elections says North Carolina set a record for absentee by-mail and in-person early voting. Suzanne Andrews, the chief judge at Precinct 76 at Forest Hills Church, believes the pandemic motivated people to take care of voting early, which is uncommon for this precinct.
“A lot of our voters like to vote on Election Day,” Andrews said. “We usually get 50% of our voters. This is a very active voting precinct.”
Robert Ewing, the chief judge at Precinct 144 at St. Matthew Church in Ballantyne, describes his precinct as “medium busy.” He says 97 voters voted in the first two hours of the polls opening. Ewing says of the 4,000 registered voters, nearly 2,800 voted early.
The doors to Mountain Island Community Church had only been open for 10 minutes when Sonya Gross stepped in line to vote. Gross said she intentionally waited to vote on Tuesday.
“Just because the lines are long during early voting, I just wait for the day so I can go to my normal precinct,” Gross said.
— Coleen Harry
Tell us about your voting experience. Did it go smoothly? Were there any problems? How were the lines? Did you feel safe? If so, why or why not?