2020 Election Day In North Carolina: Live Updates
This post will be updated frequently on Nov. 3, 2020 with the latest information and breaking news on Election Day in North Carolina. The latest updates will be entered at the top with timestamps. Scroll down for older updates.
Check out our 2020 Voter Guide for information on absentee ballots and more. Also read our Races to Watch stories in statewide and local legislative elections. Be sure to subscribe to WUNC's Politics Podcast for analysis.
The pandemic changed many voters' election day routines, but others kept up their personal traditions.
Gwendolyn Butler has been volunteering and greeting voters at White Rock Baptist Church in Durham for decades. So she kept her routine the same. The 69-year-old could not bring herself to vote early. She voted at 6:30 a.m. Tuesday morning.
“Well, I guess I am a little old-fashioned and I just don’t trust early voting,” Butler said. “But I had some people that spoke with me about it and said it was fine. But I guess my mind was telling me since I had to work here today it would be fine for me to vote this morning, so that’s what I did.”
Voting at most sites across the state was lighter than usual, due to more than 4.5 million early voters. – Leoneda Inge, WUNC
Late voters are still making their way to polling places across North Carolina.
In southern Alamance County, Sheila Fesperson is not a fan of Democrat Joe Biden.
“Getting too old,” she told WUNC’s Naomi Prioleau. “He stumbles when he talks. Nope. Don't want him in.”
An hour or so east in Wake County, Kendall Medlin says he didn't vote in 2016, but he has a singular motivation to vote this year.
“Getting the current president out of office,” Medlin told WUNC’s Jay Price.
Turnout today was steady, but lighter than usual, thanks to massive early voting in North Carolina. – Dave Dewitt, WUNC
Election Day voting has been steady, but slower in many places across the state.
Shereatha and Tyrone Baines of Durham dressed in their favorite voting attire to encourage others today, even though they actually voted early.
“We’re trying to inspire others, other last minute people,” Shereatha said.
“There was so much confusion about voting. We first got a mail-in ballot, we filled that out. And then we looked at the crowds on the first day and decided that we were going to save our mail-in ballot as a souvenir and actually vote in-person,” Tyrone said.
Nearly two thirds of all registered voters in North Carolina voted early. – Leoneda Inge, WUNC
In Graham, a "March to the Polls" is about to get underway. On Saturday, some protestors in the town were pepper-sprayed.
In Alamance County, voter Scott Holt wore his "Make America Great Again" hat to the polls.
The State Board of Elections has voted to extend voting hours at some polling sites that opened late.
Polling sites in several counties – including Guilford, Cabarrus, and Sampson – opened late Tuesday morning for different reasons, including poll workers arriving late. Executive Director Karen Brinson Bell says extending voting hours at some locations is not unusual in any election.
“Minor issues are going to happen,” she said. “And protocols are in place to address these circumstances as they arrive to ensure that all voters can cast their ballots successfully.”
Voting at the Plainview Fire Station has been extended 45 minutes. A precinct in northeast Clinton has been extended 24 minutes. The Bluford precinct in Guilford County will be extended by 34 minutes, and First Missionary Baptist Church in Cabarrus County will be extended by 17 minutes. The vote was 3-2 to extend voting hours, with the two Republican members on the board voting against.
Any release of results will only happen after all polls are closed across North Carolina. So, results tonight will begin to be released at 8:15 p.m. – Celeste Gracia, Dave DeWitt and Mitchell Northam, WUNC
Some additional details: The GOP members voted against the 45-minute extension because they wanted it be 30 minutes instead.— Will Doran (@will_doran) November 3, 2020
Delays are a pretty common thing here (I don't recall any election where we haven't had a delay) but usually it's 15-20 minutes, not 45. #ncpol
"I’m really concerned about the direction this country’s heading," says David Chance, a voter in Graham.
State election officials say voters in a North Carolina town may lose their town hall as a future site to cast ballots unless leaders take down Black Lives Matter flags hanging above the building's entrance. A statement from the N.C. State Board of Elections on Monday says it's too late to shut down Carrboro Town Hall's polling place for Tuesday’s election. But the board said if the town doesn't take the four flags down, the state will take steps to make sure Town Hall isn’t used for voting again. Carrboro Mayor Lydia Lavelle said through a spokeswoman that she would wait until Wednesday to discuss the town’s decision to keep the flags flying. – The Associated Press
Analysts and political experts say suburban areas across the country will be crucial "swing" districts that could determine the presidential election. In 2016, President Donald Trump carried the precinct in the northern Wake County suburbs near Wake Forest. WUNC’s Jay Price was there Tuesday.
“One thing I've heard pretty clearly people are not happy with leadership on the coronavirus,” Price said. “I had two people go right to the heart of it and say that's what really drove them out to the polls to do what they did.”
Price said the polling place was especially slow due to large numbers of early voters, a phenomenon that appears to be widespread across the more highly populated areas of North Carolina. – Dave DeWitt, WUNC
As was the case Tuesday morning, lines in Durham remain short in the afternoon.
The Winston-Salem Transit Authority is offering free bus rides to the polls today. The “Bus to Vote Initiative” aims to remove transportation barriers for registered and new voters. Route information is available online. – Celeste Gracia, WUNC
At the Graham Civic Center, Anthony Morgan of Guilford County says the overall health of the Black community was an important issue in deciding on who to vote for this election.
"We're dealing with more problems not just based in finances," Morgan said.
Brandon Curry of Alamance County says he voted Democrat all the way down on his ballot.
"I want someone who will unify the country and not divide us,” Curry said.
Traffic at the Graham Civic Center was light Tuesday morning. There are more poll monitors than actual voters at the voting site, but that's not stopping them from playing music and remaining energetic.
Later today, protesters are expected to arrive in downtown Graham, in Alamance County, for a "peaceful push to the polls" march. Over the weekend, police pepper sprayed marchers in the same location. – Naomi Prioleau, WUNC
In Buncombe County, more people have already voted this year than in 2016.
Karen Brinson Bell, the executive director of the North Carolina State Board of Elections, said earlier today that the 4.5 million North Carolinians who cast ballots early should mean voting Tuesday is steady, but not enough to cause long lines.
“We are expecting probably around a million people to vote today if the projection of turnout is where many of the statisticians and analysts have predicted,” Bell said. “So it should be pretty smooth for voters and they should not have particularly long lines or long waits.”
If 1 million people vote Tuesday, that would establish a new all-time turnout high for an election in North Carolina. Polls close Tuesday night at 7:30 p.m. Anyone who is in line at that time will be allowed to cast a vote. – Celeste Gracia, WUNC
"The driving force? Just to be part of this difference," said Stephen Ross of Wake Forest.
In Carrboro, voters registered as Democrats have turned out in-person at a higher rate than Republicans.
Four voting sites in North Carolina opened late Tuesday morning due to technical problems. The State Board of Elections will consider whether to keep those sites open later than 7:30 p.m., when polls are scheduled to close. Voting officials say the sites that opened late are in Guilford, Cabarrus and Sampson counties.
If the Board of Elections decides to keep those sites open, the release of results may be delayed until all polls are closed.
A voting site in northern Chatham County experienced a computer glitch this morning that delayed voting for a short period. – Dave DeWitt, WUNC
"I appreciate this country and the fact that our voices count and matter. I want to vote... to protect the freedoms of America," said Jessica Braddock of Wake Forest.
Dr. Jill Biden will make one of her final campaign stops in North Carolina on Tuesday, according to a press release. The wife of Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden will travel to Cary to thank poll workers and urge voters to cast their ballots for the former vice president and running mate Sen. Kamala Harris. State Senator Wiley Nickel – who is running for reelection in District 16 – is expected to join Dr. Biden. It's unclear which polling site Biden will be at, but she is expected to arrive around 3:40 p.m. She will also travel to Florida on Tuesday. – Mitchell Northam, WUNC
At the Agriculture Center in Pittsboro, Beverly Bland, 72, handed out blue ballots to those who want a guide. A volunteer for the Democratic party, she said “it’s unfortunate that it’s become so divisive. They keep each other on their toes which is good, but it’s unfortunate,” in reference to the lack of politicians working across the aisle. - Peyton Sickles, for WUNC
"I was motivated to come out here and be part of the change," Gwendolyn Baggett of Raleigh said.
"Just knowing that my vote is just as important as everybody else’s, is really what brought me out here today," said Michael Butler, a second-time voter from Wake Forest.
"The handling of the pandemic has just been horrible under the Trump administration," said Anna Ward of Raleigh.
Ward cast her vote in a suburban precinct that President Donald Trump won by six points in 2016.
In Chatham County, in-person voter turnout was slow early Tuesday morning. In Governor's Village, one voting site was having issues with its machines. At the Agriculture Center in Pittsboro, "Election Defenders" were around.
There were maybe 11 total voters from 6:30-8 here in Chatham. One democrat booth volunteer mentioned she was given of list of ~500 people (democracy/unaffiliated) who had not voted yet. If we’re to assume it’s similar for Rep, then about 1000/1100 total left @wunc #Elections2020— Peyton Sickles (@PeytonSickles) November 3, 2020
There were no lines in Durham on Tuesday morning, as most folks there have already voted.
Polls are open across North Carolina, and some sites across the Triangle saw some short lines forming before 6:30 a.m. Tuesday morning.
4.5 million votes were cast during the early voting period. That's nearly two thirds of all registered voters in the state. About half-a-million people would need to vote Tuesday for the state to establish a new all-time high.
Polls close Tuesday evening at 7:30 p.m. Anyone who is in line at that time will be allowed to cast a vote. – Dave DeWitt, WUNC
The U.S. Department of Justice is sending poll watchers to Wake and Mecklenburg counties Tuesday. Poll watchers will be monitoring for compliance with federal voting rights laws. The DOJ is also sending poll watchers to 42 other jurisdictions in 17 other states. – Celeste Gracia, WUNC
The contrast between the Democratic governor and his Republican challenger in their response to COVID-19 will be on display again Tuesday in how they spend Election Day and night.
Incumbent Gov. Roy Cooper is off the campaign trail Tuesday and is instead conducting regular business, like getting his daily briefing on COVID-19. In the evening, he'll be at a small outdoor event in Raleigh – that's only open to the press – to make remarks after results are in.
Lt. Gov. Dan Forest, who has promised to lift pandemic restrictions if he wins, will be hosting an in-person election night party at a farm in Johnston County. Along with family and friends, the event is open to a limited number of supporters.
One thing the candidates share: both voted early. – Cole del Charco, WUNC
The State Board of Elections says North Carolina is on track for record-breaking voter turnout by the end of the day. But that doesn't mean the board will be ready to name winners of the general election.
Executive Director Karen Brinson Bell says the state board will announce Tuesday night the results from the polls, all early voting and all absentee ballots received by Tuesday
"We believe this should account for at least 97% of all ballots cast for the election,” she said. “As always, the remaining ballots including provisional ballots and absentee-by-mail ballots that arrive after election day will be counted and added to the totals during the post-election canvass period.”
Bell says the state will post unofficial results while election officials audit the process.
County boards must certify election results by Nov. 13. The state board will meet on Nov. 24, and then issue certificates of election. – Rebecca Martinez, WUNC
This post is compiled and edited by Mitchell Northam, Elizabeth Baier and Laura Pellicer.