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North Carolina elections: 2020 voter turnout up 6% statewide

Mecklenburg and surrounding counties all reported an increase compared to the 2016 General Election.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — North Carolina hit national headlines for its late swing for incumbent Donald Trump in the presidential election, but within state lines, North Carolinians made history by voting and registering in record numbers. 


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Many counties have already certified their election results, and several reported a record-breaking amount of ballots cast. 

Mecklenburg and surrounding counties all experienced a jump in turnout when compared to the 2016 presidential election. In 2016, turnout in Mecklenburg County was at 66.94% compared to this year's 71.9%.

In the 2016 general elections, 475,650 out of 710,604 registered voters in Mecklenburg County cast ballots, compared to 569,499 of 792,076 in 2016.

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The statewide average for voter turnout in 2020 was 75.26%. In 2016, turnout was 69%. And in 2012 and 2008, it was 68% and 70% respectively.

Statewide voter registration also increased: in 2020, 5,545,736 of 7,359,798 registered voters cast ballots, a stark jump from the 4,769,640 of 6,914,248 ballot casters in 2016.

Mecklenburg County certified their election results in a 3-2 vote last week, but not without pushback from Republicans on the elections board concerned with the legality of the deadline extension.

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The state board of elections announced Tuesday that there will be a statewide recount for North Carolina’s Supreme Court chief justice contest. County boards of elections must complete their recounts by Wednesday, Nov. 25.  

The 2020 presidential election hit a 50-year high, exceeding the record set by the 2008 presidential election of Barack Obama — an extraordinary engagement in what amounted to a referendum on President Donald Trump's leadership. 

According to the Associated Press, as of Nov. 8, the tallied votes accounted for 62% of the eligible voting-age population in the U.S. That’s a 0.4 percentage point increase so far over the rate hit in 2008, when the nation elected its first Black president.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.