N.C. Governor’s race: What we know, what we don’t know

As Tuesday’s election night stretched into a tense Wednesday morning, Attorney General Roy Cooper claimed victory in his hard fought battle to unseat N.C. Gov. Pat McCrory.

But the embattled Republican governor vowed that the race wasn’t over – provisional ballots would still have to be counted, the vote would have to be certified. Because the margin is less than 10,000 votes, a recount is still a possibility.

The margin in the gubernatorial race was razor thin – now just 4,980 votes out of 4.7 million cast statewide, according to complete but unofficial results from the state Board of Elections.


But Cooper said he’s confident his lead will hold and he’ll be the state’s next governor.

After all that you may rightly be asking yourself: So…what’s a provisional ballot? How do they work? How many are still out there?

Provisional ballots are cast by voters who didn’t have registrations on file, who moved but didn’t report it before the election, who voted during extended polling hours or who showed up to vote at the the wrong precinct.

Given the chaos surrounding voting hours and voting precincts in the run up to the election, it’s no surprise we’d have a number of these left to count after election night.

How many? We’re figuring that out now.

Mecklenburg County – the largest county in the state – reports they have about 3,700 provisional ballots and still about 2,000 absentee ballots to be counted. We’ll see a full count by Nov. 18 – that’s ten days after the election, when each county will certify its election results.

In the meantime, all 100 county boards of elections are checking their provisional ballots. All votes deemed eligible will be added to the final tally. Those tallies will be send to the state board of elections.

From there, depending on the margin, the runner-up may demand a recount.

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