NORTH CAROLINA, USA — North Carolina was the first state to begin the vote-by-mail process in the U.S., and now interesting data trends are beginning to emerge — including the number of ballots rejected and reason why, which political party has voted by mail the most, and the age group most represented in mail-in voting.
As of Sunday, more than a million absentee ballots have been requested in NC, and about a quarter of those voters have bubbled in their 2020 election decision and returned their ballot. Of those ballots, about 54% are from Democrats, 16% are from Republicans, and about 30% are from unaffiliated voters.
The early voting data from the N.C. State Board of Elections is compiled and analyzed on the site “U.S. Elections Project,” which is maintained by a Political Science Professor at the University of Florida, Michael McDonald, PhD.
Of the ballots returned, 1.8% of them have been rejected, and the most common reason is a problem with the witness requirement, where someone must watch you place the ballot in the envelope, then print their name and address with a signature. By state law, N.C. election officials must follow up with these voters whose ballots were rejected.
Other reasons ballots are rejected include: the voter did not sign the envelope, the ballot was damaged, or the address line was left blank.
A race/ethnicity disparity also exists: The mailed ballot rejection rate is 4.3% for Non-Hispanic Black voters, compared to 1.1% for Non-Hispanic White voters.
On Saturday, President Donald Trump’s campaign committee and the Republican National Committee sued to block a tentative election rule change announced this week, which would allow voters who forget or incorrectly fill out the witness section to return an affidavit to correct the mistake, instead of filling out an entirely new blank ballot. The updated rules would also extend the deadline by 6 days, allowing mail-in ballot to be accepted up to 5 p.m. Thursday, November 12, if they are postmarked on or before Election Day.
Another interesting data point: About half (49.4%) of all ballots returned so far in North Carolina are for people age 66 and up.
The site’s author adds a caveat: “I strongly caution that Democrats’ unprecedented high levels of early voting should not be taken as an indicator of the final election results.”
If you have requested a mail-in ballot, and aren’t sure whether it’s been mailed to you or received by election officials, you can track the ballot on https://northcarolina.ballottrax.net/voter/. You can request an absentee ballot here: https://votebymail.ncsbe.gov/app/home.
In the WFMY viewing area, here are the statistics as of Sunday, Sept 27, for mail-in ballots so far in the U.S. 2020 election in November:
North Carolina, total data:
Mail in ballots requested: 1,069,313
- Democrats: 521,580
- Republican: 193,768
- Unaffiliated: 349,178
Mail-in ballot returned: 246,615 (23.1%)
- Democrats: 133,002 (53.9%)
- Republican: 40,241 (16.3%)
- Unaffiliated: 72,675 (29.5%)
Mail-in ballots rejected: 4,381 (1.8%)
- Mail in ballots requested: 57,998
- Mail-in ballot returned: 10,155 (17.5%)
- Mail-in ballots rejected: 551 (5%)
- Mail in ballots requested: 16,604
- Mail-in ballot returned: 4,840 (29%)
- Mail-in ballots rejected: 170 (3.4%)
- Mail in ballots requested: 47,959
- Mail-in ballot returned: 6,978 (14.5%)
- Mail-in ballots rejected: 89 (1.3%)
- Mail in ballots requested: 7,776
- Mail-in ballot returned: 1,519 (19.5%)
- Mail-in ballots rejected: 32 (2%)
- Mail in ballots requested: 5,224
- Mail-in ballot returned: 1,167 (22.3%)
- Mail-in ballots rejected: 1 (0.1%)
- Mail in ballots requested: 11,867
- Mail-in ballot returned: 2,504 (21.1%)
- Mail-in ballots rejected: 16 (0.6%)
- Mail in ballots requested: 2,746
- Mail-in ballot returned: 751 (27.3%)
- Mail-in ballots rejected: 8 (1.1%)
- Mail in ballots requested: 3,147
- Mail-in ballot returned: 985 (31.1%)
- Mail-in ballots rejected: 19 (1.9%)
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