Skip Ribbon Commands
Skip to main content

League Bulletin

November 6, 2020

​WHAT HAPPENED: Indeed, the 2020 General Election will be the focus of this week’s Bulletin, but zooming beyond the presidential (as important as North Carolina is to that race) to other significant sections of the ballot more directly pertinent to the work we do together as a statewide league of cities, towns and villages.   

WHAT IT MEANS: General elections, as you know, give voters the opportunity to weigh in on, among other things, their representation in the state legislature. Unofficial tallies from the big day show the power balance will remain roughly the same, with a slight retuning in the Republican to Democrat ratio and with a number of new faces – including former League president Michael Lazzara, mayor pro tem of Jacksonville, just elected to the Senate.

ON TAP: North Carolina’s elections results are never final in an official sense on election night, nor are they in the subsequent days until the canvass and certification process that county elections boards do 10 days after the date of the election. For now, you can browse the lay of the land at

THE SKINNY: This election drew historic numbers, as you’ve heard all week (and prior) on the 24-hour news channels. Read on for breakdowns and links as we wait for the action to settle.

​7.36 million eligible voters

5.49 million ballots cast (total)

4.6 million absentee ballots cast

3.6 million one-stop early voting ballots cast

977,186 absentee by-mail ballots cast

41,766 provisional ballots cast

74.6 percent voter turnout

69 percent voter turnout in 2016’s general election

These statistics sourced from the N.C. State Board of Elections.

​The state’s House and Senate will continue with a Republican majority in the next biennium that begins in January, according to unofficial but reportable tallies from the N.C. State Board of Elections this week. Although the numbers are soft and some contests seemed to teeter on narrow leads, results appear to show an 18-seat Republican lead in the House and a six-seat lead in the Senate, though the Democrats did manage to again ward off a veto-proof majority. Gov. Roy Cooper, who won re-election, vetoed more than 50 bills in his first term.

The two clerk’s offices for the General Assembly chambers published unofficial elections results for the House and Senate, respectively.

Among new names on the roster was Michael Lazzara, the mayor pro tem of Jacksonville and past League president, who won election to the Senate on Tuesday to the seat previously held by retired senator Harry Brown. “I’m honored to have been selected as the incoming senator,” the Jacksonville Daily News quoted of Lazzara, who is rounding out 15 years as mayor pro tem. “It is certainly humbling and an honor that the citizens of Jones and Onslow County had the confidence in me to do that work.”  

Respective House and Senate leaders Tim Moore and Phil Berger, re-elected this week, indicated in statements that they planned to continue on tracks they’ve laid in previous terms. “This legislature will continue to serve North Carolina by finding bipartisan agreement on the pressing policy issues of every community while investing taxpayer money responsibly and effectively,” Speaker Moore tweeted.

In addition to the federal, state, judicial and county races on the ballots this election, a handful of municipal races also played out, such as in Archdale, Locust and Elkin. Referenda also appeared on ballots for certain communities, like Raleigh’s housing bonds vote, which passed overwhelmingly, and a number of alcoholic beverage sale referenda, all of which appear to have been approved.

​Added up, as of Friday morning, about 171,000 votes remained outstanding in North Carolina. But the breakdown of that and what it means is worth a look. Tyler Dukes of the News & Observer newspaper has posted a detailed thread on Twitter explaining how it all shakes out. “Outstanding mail-in ballot requests now down to ~98,000,” his thread begins. “As expected, it's ticked down over the last few days as ballots arrive. But: - Many ballots may never be returned/returned on time - This doesn't account for voters who changed their minds and voted on Election Day.” Read the rest.