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RALEIGH, NC (AP) — If a leading candidate fails to get more than 40 percent of the vote in a North Carolina primary election race this May, when is the runoff?

It depends.

The runoff recently has been held seven weeks after the primary, which this year would be June 26. But a new state law designed to fulfill a federal mandate would delay all runoffs until July 17 should one be needed for a congressional primary.

State Board of Elections Director Gary Bartlett said Thursday three additional weeks would be needed to comply with requirements that North Carolina military personnel and other state residents living overseas are sent absentee ballots 45 days before the runoff.

The General Assembly approved the primary runoff date changes with little fanfare last year.

(Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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