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April 15, 2024

Primer for 2024 Primary Election

Alexander County Board of Elections issues primer for 2024 Primary Election

The 2024 statewide primary election is Tuesday, March 5, and the Alexander County Board of Elections wants to be sure that media representatives, candidates, and voters have answers about election day and post-election processes.

Election Day voting

Polls are open from 6:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. on March 5. Voters will cast ballots at their assigned Election Day polling place. Find your polling place through the Voter Search or the Election Day Polling Place Search.

Reporting of unofficial results

After polls close on election night, unofficial results will be updated as they become available on the Election Results Dashboard. For more information on the posting of results, see Election Night Reporting Timeline. Please remember that election night results are always unofficial.

As a result of recent changes in state law, in-person early voting results will be reported later than usual on election night for the 2024 primary. This, in turn, may cause Election Day results to be reported later as well. Previously, county boards of elections could tabulate early voting results before the close of polls, and then report those results almost immediately at 7:30 p.m. on election night. Under changes made in Session Law 2023-140, Section 29, county boards must wait until 7:30 p.m. to “close the polls” on early voting tabulators and begin the process of counting and reporting the results of ballots cast during the early voting period.

The election is not over on election night

Election night marks the beginning of the statutorily required vote-counting and auditing processes after every election, called “canvass.” Canvass is the entire process of ensuring votes have been counted correctly and required audits have been completed, culminating in the certification of results during meetings of every county board of elections. By law, these canvass meetings will be held by each county board of elections at 11:00 a.m. on Friday, March 15.

All eligible ballots will be counted. For the primary, county boards of elections must count absentee-by-mail ballots received by 7:30 p.m. on Election Day. Ballots from military and overseas voters received by 5:00 p.m. on March 14 will also be counted, as required by state law per N.C.G.S. § 163-258.12.

Provisional ballots cast during the election must be researched to determine voter eligibility. Ballots determined to be cast by eligible voters will be added to the results during the canvass period, per N.C.G.S. § 163-182.2.

The NC State Board of Elections will release the number of provisional ballots cast in each county by 12:00 noon on Thursday, March 7.

 Results must be verified

Under North Carolina law, all ballots are counted by certified and tested machines. The sample audit count, also required by state law, helps ensure the reliability of the machine-tabulated results. Bipartisan teams in each county conduct hand-to-eye counts of all ballots in the randomly-selected precincts and compare the results with the results of the machine counts.

At 11:00 a.m. on Wednesday, March 6, NC State Board of Elections staff will randomly select two precincts in every county to be audited. For the purpose of this random selection, early voting locations and the entire collection of absentee-by-mail ballots received by a county are considered “precincts.”

Determining primary winners

Under N.C.G.S. § 163-111, the top candidate who receives more than 30% of the vote in a primary wins their party’s nomination and moves on to the November 5 General Election. If no candidate in a primary receives more than 30% of the vote, the candidate who receives the second-highest vote total may demand a second primary. The top two vote-getters would be on the ballot for the second primary.

Any second primary would be held on Tuesday, May 14 (10 weeks after the first primary).

Requesting a second primary

Candidates for federal or statewide offices, judicial or district attorney offices, and N.C. House or N.C. Senate districts spanning more than one county, who are apparently eligible to demand a second primary according to unofficial results, must file a written request with the executive director of the State Board of Elections by 12:00 noon on Thursday, March 14. Any request would be subject to the certification of official results by the State Board.

Requests for a second primary from candidates for state senator or state representative in a single-county district or candidates for county offices must be submitted in writing to the appropriate county board of elections, also by 12:00 noon on Thursday, March 14.


For additional information, please contact the Alexander County Board of Elections at or (828) 632-2990, or visit

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