More than 1,100 ballots added to races in New Hanover County


WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — The 2018 election is not over yet and it may not be for a few more weeks in New Hanover County.

There’s one very tight race that could see a different outcome after the absentee and provisional ballots are added to the totals.

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Absentee ballots are mailed in by those who are away from the area on Election Day.

Provisional ballots are submitted on Election Day by people who go to the wrong polling location, or similar circumstances.

Some were rejected but 1,121 ballots were approved.

There were some ballots that the State Board of Elections recommended either for approval or denial. Others were left up to the county board.

Some deciding factors were missing or misplaced signatures, missing or late post marks on mailed ballots, missing witness signatures and the list goes on.

Some of those were approved or denied in batches. Others were decided on a case by case basis.

Board of Elections Chairman Jonathan Washburn says although things like missing post marks are not the fault of the voter, but they must follow the law.

“Many ballots that are valid ballots, valid voters, registered voters, don’t get counted, because they don’t follow the correct statutory process,” Washburn said. “In that instance, we either have to legislate from the board, and say, ‘oh we’ll, count it anyway,’ or we have to see what the statute says.”

Washburn says the only race he thinks could be affected by the additional votes is the state senate race between Harper Peterson and incumbent Senator Michael Lee.

Peterson won by fewer than 40 votes on Election Night.

Washburn says after the votes are canvassed Friday, the loser of that race will be able to request a recount, which he thinks is likely.

The machine to count all those votes won’t be available until the first week in December so it could be weeks before we have an official winner.