Provisional Ballots Could Determine North Carolina Governor

Provisional Ballots Could Determine North Carolina Governor

4:08pm Nov 10, 2016
2016 North Carolina election map. Credit: Ali Zifan via WikiCommons

The hotly contested race for North Carolina’s governor has ended, but the final result is still unknown. Democrat Roy Cooper has declared victory with about 5,000 more votes than Republican incumbent Pat McCrory, but that could all change.

The final tally depends on provisional ballots.

There are several reasons you might cast a provisional ballot. For example, if a registration isn’t found on file, or if you vote in the wrong precinct, or during extended hours. But counting them takes time because they have to be researched to determine voter eligibility.

This is business as usual. Provisional ballots are counted at the end of every election cycle. And it is an open and public process. Election officials from each of the 100 counties of North Carolina are working on getting accurate results, and it’s witnessed by representatives from the Democrat and Republican parties.

Some of these votes would not have been counted at all if the courts had upheld a Republican-backed law that limited voting access.

This is not a recount, but depending on the results, one could be requested. But only if the difference between McCrory and Cooper's total is fewer than 10,000 votes after the county canvas.

The final results will be released at 11 a.m. on Friday, November 18th. 

Support your
public radio station