CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Mecklenburg County’s Elections Director Michael Dickerson said they have more than 120,000 absentee ballots to count.
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However, they’ve had a jump start because North Carolina allows votes to be processed weeks in advance. WCNC Charlotte is looking at what the process looks like and when results are expected.
Dickerson said they’ve been processing absentee ballots for weeks, which means the hardest part of that process is over with, but it’s a different story in South Carolina.
“Some states do not allow you to actually open up the ballot until Election Day, so those states are going to be pressed,” said Dickerson.
Dickerson said they’ve been processing absentee ballots for weeks because of North Carolina law. As a result, he expects to have results on Election night for more than 120,000 ballots returned so far.
“That puts us in much better shape than a lot of other states,” said Dickerson.
Processing absentee ballots involves several steps, including verifying the required information is there, taking the ballots out of envelopes, and putting them into a machine.
“It basically counts them all, but doesn't produce a result,” said Dickerson.
Then the data is put on thumb drives until Election Day. However, in South Carolina, election officials just began opening the return envelopes for absentee ballots on Sunday. It’s the start of a process that’s not expected to wrap up on election night.
Dickerson said all his staff has left to do with absentee ballots is tabulate results, which will happen after a 2 p.m. board meeting on Election Day.
“We take all those thumb drives out, and we will stick them into the tabulator, it reads the results,” said Dickerson.
The results won’t be released until the polls close at 7:30 p.m. on Election Day. Dickerson said the hard work for the absentee ballots has already been done.
“Yes, that is very fair to say,” said Dickerson.
Dickerson said the results from early voting and absentee ballots should be available before the results from Election Day voting because those votes will still need to be driven in from the different precincts.