Current focus: #NCVotes 2020, tips and tools for NC journalists
The NC Local News Workshop, with the NC Open Government Coalition, NC Press Association and other partners, will take local journalists’ questions, track down answers, and provide links to timely, relevant resources to support strong local coverage of the general election.
Asked and answered (see the full list):
Posted Nov. 5, 2020:
Q: Will uncounted ballots (absentee by mail or provisional) change NC’s election outcome, which shows both Pres. Donald Trump and Sen. Thom Tillis as the winners. National media outlets have not called these races yet, do they expect changes?
A: There’s been a lot of discussion about this in media stories and in social media exchanges. Here are two articles that go into depth, from Carolina Public Press and The News & Observer and Charlotte Observer. In short, a few races down the ballot might be affected by mail ballots counted between now and Nov. 12, but the consensus is we’re not likely to see a change in the presidential or Senate outcomes.
Posted Nov. 3, Election Day 2020
Q: Will the state Board of Elections be able to tell us how many voted absentee ballots are outstanding (i.e. in the mail) when the polls close?
A: It doesn’t look as though we’ll have numbers on how many absentee-by-mail ballots have been voted and are on the way to be counted, i.e. postmarked by close of business today, the deadline. They will be counted through Nov. 12. However, we can say how many mail ballots that were requested have not been returned, statewide and for each county. According to this daily report from the NC BOE, there were 136,700 outstanding absentee ballots across North Carolina as of the latest tally this morning.
The report offers statewide numbers followed by a list of county-level totals. Note the fine print: these numbers will be constantly changing as ballots are returned to county elections board offices today or via the mail through Nov. 12, when counting ends, and as some voters elect to vote in person today and cancel their absentee ballot. Thanks to Jordan Wilkie from Carolina Public Press for help on this answer.
To ask questions: Tag @ncnewsworks with questions on Twitter or Facebook; use the #ncvotes hashtag; or email firstname.lastname@example.org. We’ll track down answers and post them through our channels. We’ll also share answers from others.
We‘ll update this section frequently. Keep up with how NC is covering the election via our weekly NC Local newsletter, edited by Eric Frederick.
- Aug. 26 Zoom recording, “What we’re learning about public records and open government in 2020,”
- NC Local takeaways from the Aug. 26 training, via NC Local News Workshop blog.
- Transparency in the time of COVID-19: Public Records Edition By Amanda Martin, Stevens Martin Vaughn & Tadych, general counsel, NC Press Association. (Don’t miss the additional resources at the bottom.)
- What To Say When They Say No. Martin’s very useful list of scenarios.
- The NC Open Government Coalition / Sunshine Center at Elon, website and FAQ on COVID-19 and public records.
- The Open Government Guide from the state Attorney General’s Office.
- Law Enforcement Agency Recordings, a slide presentation by Mike Tadych.
- The NCPA legal hotline for members.
- North Carolina Bill Tracking from the National Freedom of Information Coalition.