(The Center Square) – A handful of North Carolina counties plan to count additional votes and sort through duplicates early this week, days after the county deadline for election canvassing.
At least two counties are examining major discrepancies, according to the North Carolina State Board of Elections (NCSBE). Washington County reported duplicate mail-in absentee data, and Robeson County did not report early votes from one of its precincts on election night.
"The canvass process exists to ensure votes are counted accurately," NCSBE Executive Director Karen Brinson Bell said. "This is the process working as it is supposed to work. This election will not be certified until we are certain the results are accurate."
Election Day results are considered unofficial. NCSBE audits county boards of elections ahead of the county canvass deadline, which was Friday. But counties may delay the canvass for a “reasonable time” if they were not completed on Friday. The state board must certify the election by Nov. 24.
The Washington County Board of Elections met Monday morning to amend its canvass and update the results. Officials detected the error during the mandatory audits. The NCSBE said the error most likely occurred because the county has older equipment.
Data for the Pembroke Fire Department's one-stop early voting site in Robeson was not uploaded to the state's election results database. The Robeson County Board of Elections will add 1,951 early-voting, 700 provisional and 30 absentee ballots to its results Monday afternoon.
Eight other counties plan to complete their final tallies Monday.
The New Hanover County Board of Elections must review an election protest from North Carolina Supreme Court Chief Justice Paul Newby, who was up for reelection. As of Monday morning, Newby was ahead of his opponent Cheri Beasley by 230 votes statewide. Newby alleges the board accepted three absentee by-mail ballots after the deadline and others without the Nov. 3 postmark. Newby also contended that 49 mail-in ballots had inconsistencies. Newby submitted a protest in at least seven other counties. Roberson and Durham counties election officials have dismissed similar protests by Newby.
The NCSBE also reported one possible double vote in Craven County, and officials in Sampson County will count five additional votes Monday afternoon. Durham and Stanly counties also plan to review their tallies this week.