It could be a long night before results come in for Wake County, North Carolina’s second most populous county, where Democrats hope to pick up state House and Senate seats in a bid to break the GOP’s supermajority in the legislature.
County election officials had already predicted that heavy turnout could delay results, but as voters lined up Tuesday morning, precinct officials began reporting that paper ballots were repeatedly jamming in tabulators because of humidity problems. Some ballots may have to be counted by hand. Polls close in the state at 7:30 p.m.
Part of North Carolina’s 2nd Congressional District, which has what could be a tight race between Republican incumbent George Holding and Democrat Linda Coleman, is in Wake County.
The State Board of Elections and Ethics Enforcement issued a statement Tuesday morning reassuring voters that the ballots would be tabulated. Problems are mainly occurring in Wake, home to the state capital of Raleigh, but other counties have also reported issues.
“When ballots cannot be read by tabulators, they are stored securely in ‘emergency bins’ and will be tabulated as soon as possible,” the statement said. “The State Board wants to ensure voters that procedures are in place for these types of events. All ballots will be counted.”
With rain and possibly heavy thunderstorms predicted throughout much of the state, precinct officials are being encouraged to run air conditioners and keep doors closed as much as possible.