RALEIGH (WTVD) -- More than 600,000 absentee ballots and counting are now on their way to North Carolina voters who requested them.
The milestone marks the unofficial beginning of the 2020 Presidential Election, since voters can technically fill out their ballot and send it back to their respective county's Board of Elections almost immediately (they'll need a witness, of course).
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"It's all in the instructions and voters should read the instructions to make sure they comply with those laws," Olivia McCall, Deputy Director of Wake County Board of Elections, said. "The State Board of Elections just gave us another tool, an online portal, where you can go online and request an absentee ballot."
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With the calendar now reaching Sept. 4, there are several other significant dates coming up that are key to the process:
- October 9 at 5 p.m: Voter registration deadline
- October 15: Early Voting Begins
- October 27 at 5 p.m: Last day to submit an absentee ballot request
- November 3: Absentee ballots delivered to the Board of Elections must be received by 5 p.m. If mailing your ballot, it must be postmarked on or before Election Day.
- November 6 at 5 p.m: Ballots postmarked by November 3rd must arrive at Board of Elections to be officially counted
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Wake County voters in 2016 only requested 34,000 absentee ballots, with about 28,000 of them actually returned. Significantly, just over 200 ballots (0.7 percent) were denied for reasons such as missing signatures, missing notaries, and incomplete witness information. Officials now are confident that a redesigned envelope and updated laws requiring only one witness and no notary will mean fewer issues.
"We don't see what is being alleged out there," Sims said. "If there ever was, first of all it'd be a Class I felony. If it happens, it goes to the proper authorities for review and investigation."
Officials say they're now processing up to 5,000 requests every day.