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US election: Where things stand in North Carolina

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The battleground state is essential for President Donald Trump’s path to the White House, but Joe Biden is on his heels.

What do the results show in North Carolina right now?

With all precincts reporting, President Donald Trump is leading Joe Biden 49.98 percent to 48.57 percent, or by about 76,701 votes, according to the state board of elections’ unofficial results.

Despite Trump declaring victory in the state early on Wednesday, the race is still too close to call due to more than 100,000 outstanding absentee ballots.

What votes still need to be counted? What could those votes mean?

There are about 117,000 absentee ballots that have not been returned. If postmarked by Election Day, they can still be counted if they arrive by 5pm (22:00 GMT) on November 12. It should be noted that these are the total number of absentee ballots requested, but not yet returned.

It is unclear how many of these ballots have been filled out and sent in. Voters also had the option to vote in-person, even if they had requested an absentee ballot.

Volunteers reconcile the number of paper ballots and tabulations after a day of voting at the OP Owens Agricultural Center before taking the voting information to the Robeson County Board of Elections in Lumberton, North Carolina [Melissa Sue Gerrits/Getty Images/AFP]

“A greater absentee-by-mail volume is the only hope Biden has in North Carolina,” Chris Cooper, a political science professor at Western Carolina University, told Al Jazeera.

Steven Greene, a political science professor at North Carolina State University, added: “There’s a decent number of ballots to be counted and there may be enough to shift some very close statewide races to the Democratic column, but seems quite unlikely they could shift the results in the presidential or Senate race.”

In terms of any potential recount, a presidential or US Senate candidate in North Carolina can request a recount if he/she lost by either 10,000 votes or half a percentage point, whichever is lesser.

What was the turnout in North Carolina?

North Carolina saw record turnout this year. As of Wednesday morning, 74.5 percent of registered voters cast a ballot in North Carolina. The turnout was about 68.98 percent in 2016.

“The turnout in North Carolina of nearly 75 percent is fantastic,” said Whitney Ross Manzo, a political science professor at Meredith College.

“I’m so glad to see North Carolinians exercising their rights, and that all the fears of voter suppression appear to be unfounded,” she told Al Jazeera.

“No matter which side you think should win, that’s a win for democracy.”



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