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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 Elections Board Meets To Approve More Than 2,000 Absentee Ballots

Mecklenburg Board of Elections Members reviewing absentee ballots
Michael Falero
Mecklenburg Board of Elections Members reviewing absentee ballots

This article is made possible through a partnership between WFAE and Votebeat, a nonpartisan reporting project covering local election integrity and voting access. This article is available for reprint under the terms of our republishing policy.

The Mecklenburg County Board of Elections met Friday night to count the first batch of outstanding absentee by mail ballots. These ballots have until November 12 to arrive and be counted.

It was busy as the board’s five members sorted through batches of absentee ballots, at times examining the envelopes with magnifying glasses. These ballots arrived at the Mecklenburg Board of Elections on Election Day or later, but all of them must meet the postmark deadline of 5 p.m. on Nov. 3 to be counted.

Mecklenburg Board of Elections director Michael Dickerson brings the members the absentee ballots in large white bins:

"You check these for accuracy, but you’ll want to check these for postmarks, too,' said Dickerson. "And we did that on all of these, but if you all want to go through those, I know you all like doing that."

A number of observers watched the board while they review the ballots, including representatives for both the Biden and Trump campaigns. By the end of the meeting, members approved 2,288 absentee by mail ballots, which staff then ran through the tabulators. These votes will be reported to the state Board of Elections and added to Mecklenburg’s counts.

Statewide, there are about 99,000 outstanding absentee ballots but will be reduced because it’s assumed some people voted on election day and others never mailed their ballot back in. There are another 40,000 provisional ballots statewide. Mecklenburg County’s votes could be pivotal, as many of North Carolina’s races have not been called yet, including for president and senate.

The Mecklenburg county board of elections will meet next Thursday, Nov.12 to count provisional ballots, and then on Nov. 13 to certify the election.