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Two N.C. counties miscounted some votes, officials find in post-election review

Two N.C. counties miscounted some votes, officials find in post-election review

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RALEIGH — Two rural North Carolina counties made mistakes reporting their voting results on Election Night, but those problems should be fixed by today, state officials say.

Robeson County officials forgot to report their results from one early-voting site, and Washington County officials accidentally counted people's mail-in ballots twice.

Both mistakes were caught during a canvass, in which officials double-check voting results before finalizing their vote count. 

"The canvass process exists to ensure votes are counted accurately," said Karen Brinson Bell, executive director of the State Board of Elections, in a news release. "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."

All told, the statewide results might change by around 3,000 votes. It's unlikely to affect the unofficial results of any races, except for one that still remains incredibly close: chief justice of the N.C. Supreme Court.

Robeson County will likely have added around 1,900 votes to its total count after locals met Monday afternoon to address the forgotten early-voting results. Officials in the county on the South Carolina border counted but forgot to report the results from one of their early-voting sites at a fire department. They also have around 700 provisional ballots and 30 absentee ballots to add to the final count.

Washington County subtracted around 650 votes from its total count when local elections officials met Monday morning to discuss the problems there. According to the State Board of Elections, county officials accidentally duplicated the results of all their mail-in ballots — and the current election results show around 1,300 people in that small northeastern county voted by mail.

Each of the state's 100 counties is in charge of many of the details surrounding how elections are run, and state officials blamed the problems there on outdated machinery. They added that most counties in the state have newer equipment that wouldn't be able to make the same kind of mistake.

Due to mistakes or omissions like these, the votes reported on election night are always unofficial.

Nearly all of North Carolina's 100 counties have now finished their post-election canvass, although nine counties including Robeson and Washington still had some work to do.

Once all the final counts and reviews are done, state officials will meet next week to certify the 2020 election results and make them official.

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