1 in 5 people in NC who requested mail-in ballots have not yet voted, data shows

North Carolina

RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — Roughly one in five people who requested absentee mail-in ballots have yet to cast their ballots, according to North Carolina Board of Elections data.

The elections board says 883,964 of the more than 1.35 million voters who asked for absentee ballots have cast them by mail — leaving roughly 500,000 that remain.

“One thing that is important, I think, in terms of that group who haven’t mailed in ballots is that it doesn’t necessarily mean they haven’t voted,” Tomas Lopez, the executive director of Democracy North Carolina, said Friday.

“If there’s one big takeaway, I think it’s that,” he added.

Indeed, the elections board said Thursday night that approximately 233,000 of them chose to vote in person. About 273,000 voters who requested mail-in ballots have not yet voted.

The voluminous data shared daily by the state elections board — which provides demographic information on voters who have cast their ballots — does not differentiate between those who voted in person after requesting a ballot, only breaking them down by the method (early in person, or by mail) that ballot was ultimately received.

Elections board spokesman Patrick Gannon did not respond to a request for a breakdown of demographic details — including age ranges and political parties — for the group of absentee ballot recipients who have not yet voted.


Guidelines from the elections board say as long as a voter does not cast his absentee ballot, he may vote in person, either on Election Day or during the early voting period that ends Saturday. A person who votes by that method may discard the absentee ballot.

Lopez says there are several reasons why a voter would choose to cast his ballot in person.

“One is they may be hearing things in the press about concerns about the mail, be concerned about the mail themselves,” Lopez said. “Lots of third-party groups, political parties, candidates are out there, especially at this stage, now saying, ‘Hand it in,’ or ‘Just go vote in person.’

“Now if you’ve got your mail-in ballot, you’re like, ‘Actually, should I go vote in person?’” he added. “There are some that requested an absentee ballot in the first place almost like an insurance policy.”

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