North Carolina will keep 4 polling places open longer

Published 5:03 pm Tuesday, November 3, 2020

Getting your Trinity Audio player ready...

RALEIGH (AP) — The North Carolina State Board of Elections voted Tuesday to keep four polling places open longer because they opened late, which is expected to delay statewide reporting of results.

The longest extension was 45 minutes for a site in Sampson County. That means the state can’t publicly report any statewide results until 8:15 p.m.

The state’s more than 2,600 polling places are generally scheduled to close at 7:30 p.m. But North Carolina elections officials said in a news release last week that if hours are extended at any polls, they wouldn’t publicly post any results until all polls are closed. Board Chair Damon Circosta confirmed at the meeting Tuesday that the extended hours would delay public release of results.

The polling places that opened late include one site in Cabarrus County, one in Guilford County and two in Sampson County. The delays were at least partly due to issues with printers or other electronic equipment. The extensions, which only apply to the individual precincts and not other sites in those counties, range from 17 minutes to 45 minutes and match the extra time it took to get them open.

Board Executive Director Karen Brinson Bell said at a news conference in the morning before the vote was held that it’s not unusual to extend polling place hours on Election Day.

In Charlotte, an armed man loitering at a polling site on Election Day was arrested and charged with trespassing, the Charlotte Mecklenburg Police Department said in a news release.

Justin Dunn, 36, was legally carrying a firearm but loitered at the site after voting Tuesday morning, which prompted a precinct official to call police to the scene over fears of voter intimidation, the release said. A precinct official accompanied by a police officer asked him to leave the site and banned him from the location.

Police said Dunn left the precinct but returned about two hours later. He was taken into custody and charged with second-degree trespassing.

Publicly listed numbers for Dunn were disconnected when a reporter tried to reach him Tuesday.