State Board unanimously certifies 2022 primary and municipal election results

·3 min read

Jun. 11—RALEIGH — The State Board of Elections on Thursday unanimously certified the results of the 2022 statewide primary and municipal elections held on May 17.

The state canvass is the process of determining that the votes have been counted and tabulated correctly, resulting in the certification of official election results.

The official results are available via the Election Results Dashboard on the State Board of Elections website. About 1.4 million voters participated in the primary and municipal elections, a turnout of about 20% of all registered voters.

"Congratulations to the State Board staff and to all 100 county boards of elections on a very well run 2022 primary election," said Damon Circosta, State Board chairman. "The voters of North Carolina can be confident that their vote was counted and that the results we certified today accurately reflect the voters' wishes."

The final certification by the State Board came after all eligible ballots — including provisional and absentee ballots — were counted, and post-election audits were conducted by all 100 county boards of elections and the State Board. These audits demonstrated that the reported results were accurate.

In one audit required by state law, bipartisan teams at all 100 county boards of elections conducted hand counts of ballots among two randomly selected ballot groups: all ballots cast in one or more precincts, early voting sites, or by mail.

This "sample audit," along with pre-election testing of every machine used in the election, provides confidence that tabulation machines accurately counted the ballots.

Statewide, 168 Election Day precincts and 28 early voting sites were audited; four counties conducted a hand-eye audit of all mail-in absentee ballots they received.

Of these 200 groups of ballots, very small differences between machine counts and human hand-eye counts were found in 21 samples among 17 counties.

The average ballot count difference within these counties was 2.3. Most of these minor discrepancies can be attributed to human errors during the hand-eye audit itself, or to voters who circle bubbles instead of filling them in or mark the bubble too lightly so it can't be read by the machine.

Aside from the differences noted above, in all other counties, the machine count and hand-eye count matched exactly in the sampled ballot groups. In other words, in 179 of 200 samples, the hand and machine counts were identical.

"These audit results — and the results of similar audits conducted after every election — show that our certified voting machines count ballots accurately and can be trusted," said Karen Brinson Bell, executive director of the State Board of Elections. "Remember: These hand-count audits are conducted by bipartisan teams in every county in North Carolina, as required by law."

Among other checks, the State Board also conducted a voter history audit.

This process verifies that the number of voters who check in to vote at polling places or cast ballots by mail matches the number of physical ballots tabulated by each county board of elections. This audit identified no evidence that vote totals or ballots cast were manipulated in any way.

In other business, the State Board voted 5-0 to dismiss a complaint filed against Laura Lynn Deptola, an Onslow County Board of Elections member. The complaint, filed by Angela Todd, raised questions about certain posts Deptola made on social media.

Circosta reminded county board of elections members that it's important to be mindful that they are constantly under scrutiny and should be careful about statements they make publicly or post on social media platforms that could compromise the perception that they are acting in a nonpartisan fashion as board members.