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NC election official says state is ‘uniquely positioned’ for increased use of absentee ballots

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North Carolina’s top elections official said on Sunday that the state is “uniquely positioned” to handle the increased use of absentee ballots.

“I think North Carolina’s uniquely positioned for this because we, you know, began sending out absentee-by-mail ballots on September 4th to nearly 600,000 absentee requests that we had received. We are ahead of the game in sending out those ballots. That’s more time for voters to return them,” North Carolina State Board of Elections Executive Director Karen Brinson Bell said on NBC’s “Meet the Press.” 

“We also have had in place for a number of years now the ability to process absentee-by-mail ballots in advance of Election Day,” she added. “So our County Boards of Elections will meet five weeks prior to Election Day and begin reviewing the returned absentee-by-mail materials.”

Bell also noted that the state requires witnesses as well as signatures for absentee ballots.

“And then once the county boards have considered it, we can actually insert those into the tabulators, and then we tabulate on Election Day. We also tabulate on Election Day the results from our one-stop early voting, which we think will be about 50 percent of the ballots cast,” she said.

She told NBC’s Chuck Todd that mail-in, absentee ballots may represent 40 percent of the votes cast in the state, meaning that “even by the close of polls on Election Night, we may be reporting as much as 80 percent of our voter turnout.”

President Trump’s vocal attacks on voting by mail have frequently invoked the possibility of long-delayed certification of results.

However, Bell added that state officials have been “optimistic the entire time” about mail-in ballots.

“This is not the first time that North Carolina has been 60 days out in delivering absentee-by-mail ballots,” she said. “That’s par for the course in our state. It’s just that we’re trying to get out more than we typically would.”


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