Uncertainty over how many as-yet uncounted votes will be added to the results of last week’s election is not likely to be resolved by Friday’s deadline, delaying the outcome of close races for governor and other offices. Counties are dealing with several complications, including election protests and accommodating a late court order to count the votes of those who say they registered at motor-vehicle offices but did not show up on voter rolls. County elections boards are permitted to extend their vote canvassing, which was to occur Friday, and many if not all are expected to do that, state elections board spokesman Patrick Gannon said. The state board can delay its final certification of the votes by up to 10 days past its own due date of Nov. 29 if some counties don’t report to the state by then, which would postpone the final outcome until Dec. 9.
Counties have been waiting for the state board to let them know which provisional ballots should be counted among those cast by voters who don’t appear on the rolls but claim to have registered or changed their address through the N.C. Division of Motor Vehicles or offices that provide public assistance. A recent court order requires those votes to be counted except in cases in which the voter filled out a form at the DMV declining to register.
The state Department of Transportation and the elections office have been identifying those voters and the process is continuing, according to both agencies.
Last month a federal judge ruled that North Carolina elections officials must protect those who thought they had registered through the DMV and state agencies that take applications for Medicaid, food stamps and other public assistance. Organizations had sued contending the state has failed to comply with the federal “motor voter” law.