By Peter Vankevich

The country has just learned at noon today that Democrat Joe Biden has captured the presidency of the United States.

Yesterday, the Hyde County Board of Elections released the unofficial vote tallies by precinct. A record 78% of the county’s registered voters cast ballots, up from 67% in the 2016 General Election.

Hyde County has seven voting precincts: Burgess Mill, Engelhard, Fairfield, Lake Landing, Ocracoke, Sladesville and Swan Quarter. The six precincts on the mainland voted overwhelmingly Republican and Ocracoke voted Democrat.

There will be some changes in the final official count. The Raleigh News & Observer reported this morning that North Carolina has at least 32,000 ballots still to be counted but there could be as many as 171,000, according to data from the state.

There are two reasons for the delay in a final count.

The North Carolina Board of Elections allows that as long as ballots are postmarked on or before Election Day (Nov. 3), the ballots have until Nov. 12 to arrive in the various elections offices.

Also, a state law prevents mail-in ballots arriving after the election from being counted as they come in. Instead, they must all be counted by local officials during an official post-election meeting in each county.

Some close state races may be impacted by the additional ballots. Of particular note is the race for chief justice of the North Carolina Supreme Court.  Republican challenger Paul Newby leads Democrat incumbent Cheri Beasley by about 3,700 votes.

Another close race is for N.C. attorney general. Incumbent Democrat Josh Stein leads Republican challenger Jim O’Neill by about 10,800 votes.

Locally, the Ocracoke Sanitary District which administers the water plant had an opening for a second candidate as a write-in to join Scott Bradley who was approved on the ballot along with the other board members not up for reelection.

Regina Boor O’Neal, a current board member, did not file to have her name placed on the ballot. She subsequently stated that she would continue if she wins as a write-in candidate. A total of 287 write-ins for this seat have been tallied. Write-in votes will be counted by the Board of Elections and the winner announced next week.

The Hyde County Board of Elections meets Tuesday, Nov. 10, 2020 at 6 p.m. to count write-ins and absentee ballots received after the election. Ballots postmarked by Nov. 3 have until Nov. 12 at 5 p.m. to reach the Elections Office. The board will meet on Nov. 13 to canvass the votes for submission to the state.

By way of explanation of the chart below, there are seven voting precincts: BM is Burgess Mill,  ENG (Engelhard), FF (Fairfield), LL (Lake Landing), OCK (Ocracoke), SLAD (Sladesville) and SQ (Swan Quarter). 

OS BOE refers to in-person voting at the Board of Elections Office in Swan Quarter. OS OCK refers to the votes tallied during its two days of early voting. ABS is for absentee/mail-in ballots. PROV is for provisional ballots. According to the NC Board of Elections website, a voter receives provisional ballot when questions arise about the voter’s qualification to vote, the voter’s eligibility to vote in a given election or the voter’s eligibility to vote a specific ballot style.