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Where North Carolina's election results stand as Trump threatens legal action

North Carolina will accept absentee ballots by mail through Thursday, Nov. 12 as long as they're postmarked by 5 p.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 3.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — It's been almost a week since America went to the polls and cast their ballots in the 2020 presidential election, but results still aren't official in North Carolina

In fact, North Carolina isn't through with the process of receiving votes. The State Board of Elections will accept and count any absentee ballots by mail they receive by Thursday, Nov. 12, so long as they were postmarked by 5 p.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 3. According to the North Carolina State Board of Election, there are 94,900 outstanding absentee ballots.

Catawba College political science professor, Dr. Michael Bitzer, says while the extension for absentee ballots is a change for North Carolina, he doesn't expect the counting of any outstanding ballots to affect the results. 

"The process is unfolding as we suspected it would," Bitzer said. "By Thursday, all absentee ballots must be received by the Board of Elections. They will be processed and counted if they were postmarked by 5 p.m. on Nov. 3." 

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Starting November 13, county election boards in North Carolina will begin the "canvassing" period. That's basically when election results are certified. This is the standard procedure in every North Carolina election.

"Then, later this month, the state will certify the results and therefore, everything will be official from North Carolina," Bitzer said.

President Donald Trump leads President-elect Joe Biden in North Carolina but doesn't have enough Electoral College votes to keep the presidency. Trump's campaign has threatened legal action in multiple states he lost to Biden and he still hasn't conceded the race. 

"We usually have presidents who lose their re-election bids be bitter about it," Bitzer said. "If you go back to Jimmy Carter versus Ronald Reagan, it was a very bitter election. Carter was not happy about losing but he follow the process of the transition."

Trump is the first incumbent president to lose re-election since George H.W. Bush was defeated by Bill Clinton in 1992. Even then, Bitzer says, Bush followed the process and helped Clinton's administration get going.

"This kind of activity we've seen from President Trump, he has signaled this for several weeks," Bitzer said. "It will be interesting to watch and see does he really follow through on these legal threats or does he let the process play out?"

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