Voting goes 'smoothly' all across North Carolina on primary election day

Ana Rivera Image
Tuesday, May 17, 2022
Voting goes 'smoothly' across NC on primary election day
Karen Brinson Bell, the executive director of the state board of elections, said in a press conference so far the day has gone smoothly.

RALEIGH, N.C. (WTVD) -- More than 2,600 polling locations opened this morning at 6:30 a.m. Karen Brinson Bell, the executive director of the state board of elections, said in a news conference so far the day has gone smoothly.

Bell says they are doing everything they can to have a secure and accurate election. Even before Election Day, equipment is tested and checked for accuracy.

"We want to remind voters we have countless safeguards in place to make sure your vote is counted and the final results are accurate. We do this work every day of the year and we take it extremely seriously," Bell said.

So far, nearly 600,000 people cast their ballots early which is a huge increase from the midterm election in 2018 when about 295,000 voters cast ballots early.

"It's been a slow but steady turnout so far in Wake County, but Election Day voting historically picks up at the polls as we get closer to 5 p.m.," said Gary Sims, Wake County Board of Elections Director. "Everything has been going smoothly so far and we're excited so many people already took advantage of other convenient voting methods so they can simply sit back and watch the unofficial returns tonight."

After all the ballots are cast on Tuesday, it could take days to get the certified results because multiple audits have to take place. On Wednesday, a bipartisan group will hand count random ballots to check for accuracy. It could take days before the official results are available.

"What we want to make sure is voters know the story behind what happens in elections to increase our transparency. That's why North Carolinians will find the most robust data available for public consumption on our state website of any state elections office is my understanding," Bell said.

How winners are determined

In North Carolina, the top candidate who receives more than 30% of the vote in a primary wins their party's nomination and moves on to the general election.

If no candidate in a primary gets more than 30% of the vote, the candidate who receives the second-highest vote total may demand a second primary.

Any second primary would be held on Tuesday, July 26.

Candidates for federal or statewide offices, judicial or district attorney offices, and N.C. House or N.C. Senate districts spanning more than one county, who are apparently eligible to demand a second primary must file a written request with the executive director of the State Board of Elections by noon on Thursday, May 26. Requests for a second primary from candidates for state senator or state representative in a single-county district or candidates for county offices must be submitted in writing to the appropriate county board of elections, also by noon on May 26.

Election not over on Election Night

After Election Night, the required vote-counting and auditing processes, called "canvass" begins. Canvass culminates in the certification of results during meetings of every county board of elections. By law, these canvass meetings will be held by each county board of elections at 11 a.m. May 27.


Then, the State Board will meet at 11 a.m. June 9, to finalize primary results.

All eligible ballots will be counted. For the primary, county boards of elections must count absentee-by-mail ballots postmarked on or before Election Day that arrive in the mail by 5 p.m. May 20. Ballots from military and overseas voters received by 5 p.m. May 26 will also be counted, as required by state law.

Provisional ballots cast during the election must be researched to determine voter eligibility. Ballots determined to be cast by eligible voters will be added to the results during the canvass period.

The day after the primary, the State Board of Elections will randomly select precincts, early voting sites, and absentee-by-mail ballots to be counted by hand in each county to confirm the accuracy of the results counted by machine.

The random selection of precincts to be audited in each county will take place at 11 a.m. Wednesday. The public is invited to attend the random drawing in the Board Room, State Board of Elections office, Third Floor, Dobbs Building, 430 N. Salisbury St., Raleigh. Facemasks are required to enter the State Board of Elections office.