Although most national media outlets have declared Joe Biden to be the presumptive president elect and Kamala Harris the presumptive vice president elect, four states are still considered too close to call, and one of them is North Carolina.

Why?

There still remains about 95,000 absentee ballots that have until Nov. 12 to reach their respective counties and with just 96 percent of total votes counted, the races for President and U.S. Senator remain too close to call.

County boards of elections will continue to meet through Nov. 13 to consider additional absentee by-mail ballots that arrive at their offices through Nov. 12, provided they were postmarked on or before Election Day.

As of Friday morning, about 99,000 voters who requested an absentee by-mail ballot had not yet returned an accepted ballot or voted in person during the early voting period. The number of these ballots ultimately returned will be less than 99,000 because some voters cast their ballot in person on Election Day and others likely did not vote at all.

The State Board will not know how many voters with outstanding absentee ballots voted on Election Day until the county boards of elections complete their regular post-election tasks during the canvass period.

Additionally, about 31,900 eligible ballots arrived at county boards of elections over the past few days. These envelopes have been scanned in but have not yet been officially approved by the county board or added to the unofficial results.

These numbers are approximations based on the best available data through the state’s election information management system

Also, the 40,766 provisional ballots voted statewide will be researched to determine whether the voter was eligible, and the approved ballots will be reported on the Election Night Results website on November 12 and 13. In 2016, about 44 percent of provisional ballots cast statewide were counted.

County boards will complete their processes and canvass the election on November 13. The State Board will meet on November 24 to complete its canvass.

County boards of elections cannot meet sooner to count additional ballots because state law requires them to schedule post-election absentee board meetings at least two weeks before Election Day. The meeting schedule must be published once a week for two weeks in a newspaper. The law does not permit a county board to modify the meeting schedule after the election.

“Our county boards of elections are working extremely hard to count all ballots, conduct required audits and complete all other post-election tasks,” said Karen Brinson Bell, executive director of the N.C. State Board of Elections. “This is the process we always go through and that we must go through under state law.”

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