GREENSBORO, N.C. — Polls forecast a winner.
Candidates claim victory.
States certify results. Really, what the state certifies is all that really matters.
When are election results official? Not for a while.
“The results are not official Election night. They are considered unofficial results and we will go into what is called a canvass period beginning the day after Election day,” said Karen Brinson Bell, NC State Board of Elections Executive Director.
The Canvass is the official process of determining the votes that have been counted and tabulated correctly. State and county boards of elections audit the ballots looking for problems like equipment tampering, ballot stuffing, voting machine, or counting errors.
“We research provisional ballots we will also be accepting and counting absentee ballots that were properly postmarked on Election Day but received after. There is a series of steps that are taken to certify the election and count those additional ballots,” said Brinson Bell.
The Canvass period runs 10 days. It begins November 4 and ends Friday, November 13 but that's not the end of it. The state board then meets on November 24 to go over all the findings and then makes all the results official.
This is how it's done for every election. And while in North Carolina any absentee votes postmarked by Election Day and delivered by November 12 will be counted during The Canvass, those extra days don't move the official results days.