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Politics
Follow the latest news and information about voting and the 2020 election, including essential information about how to vote during a pandemic and more.

Mecklenburg Received 5,000 Mail Ballots Since Election Day, But Thousands More Likely Won't Be Returned

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Steve Harrison/WFAE
The Mecklenburg Board of Elections (above) has received about 5,000 new mail ballots since Election Day.

Mecklenburg County Director of Elections Michael Dickerson said he has received about 5,000 absentee mail ballots this week, and he expects another 2,000 or so before the state’s Nov. 12 deadline.

But that would fall short of the 14,900 mail ballots that are still outstanding in the county.

“(We will get) maybe another 1,000, and another 1,000 throughout the rest of the week,” he said. “You won’t see all (the ballots) I’m supposed to have.”

The State Board of Elections has said there are 116,200 mail ballots in North Carolina that haven’t yet been returned. But that doesn’t mean all will be sent back and counted.

Some people may have decided to vote on Election Day. And others may have decided not to vote at all.

If Dickerson’s prediction in Mecklenburg is true and applied to the rest of the state, there would be about 60,000 ballots returned statewide.

That’s important because knowing the number of mail ballots that could be counted could give some clarity to the presidential and U.S. Senate race in the state.

President Trump is leading in North Carolina by nearly 77,000 votes, and Republican Thom Tillis is leading Democrat Cal Cunningham by some 96,000 votes in the Senate race.

One prominent Democratic strategist, Morgan Jackson, doesn’t believe those races will change because there aren’t enough votes left.

“It looks like (President Trump) may have won North Carolina,” he told Tim Boyum of Spectrum News. “And same in the Senate race. It looks like Thom Tillis has been reelected at this point."

Cunningham hasn’t commented on the race, only to say that all votes must be counted.

Cunningham has won 65% of mail ballots so far, but there may not be enough mail ballots remaining for him to win.

But there are other races that could change because of mail ballots. One is the contest for a seat on the State Supreme Court Chief Justice, where Republican Paul Newby leads Democrat Cheri Beasley by 3,742 votes.

In addition to mail ballots, there is another group of ballots that need to be counted: Nearly 41,000 provisional ballots.

Someone may cast a provisional ballot if their name isn’t on the poll book when they arrive at a polling place.

But Dickerson says that historically, only around 40-50% of provisional ballots are accepted.

“Usually that runs a 50/50 or 40/60 approval rate,” he said.

And four years ago, provisional ballots split almost evenly between President Trump and Hillary Clinton. That suggests that provisional ballots will not add a significant number of votes to any candidate.

The Mecklenburg Elections Board will meet Friday night to counts its latest batch of mail ballots.

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?

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