What’s the story on all these absentee ballots that are out there and won’t be counted until Nov. 12?

The big question both statewide and in Guilford County is how many of those absentee ballots will be turned in by the Nov. 12 deadline.

According to Director of the Guilford County Board of Elections Charlie Collicutt, about 30,000 absentee ballots were sent out in Guilford County that have not been returned.

When asked how many of those he was expecting, Collicutt said, “I don’t know.”

Collicutt said that anecdotally they knew that some of the people who requested absentee ballots either voted early or voted on Election Day, but they don’t have that number.

Colllicutt said that on Thursday, Nov. 5, about 3,000 absentee ballots had arrived either on Nov. 3, when they did not have to be postmarked, or after Nov. 3, when to be counted they had to have be postmarked no later than Nov. 3 and none of those will be counted until Nov. 12.

Those postal meters that date letters don’t count as a postmark. It has to be an official US Postal Service postmark of Nov. 3 or earlier to be counted.

Collicutt said that in the 2016 election the Guilford County Board of Elections sent out 10,797 absentee ballots and 82 percent were returned. However, in 2016 there was no big push to get people to vote absentee like there was in 2020.

Statewide there are reportedly 116,200 absentee ballots that were sent out and have not been returned. This is being reported in the media as if there were 116,200 votes to be counted. But that simply isn’t the case. What nobody knows is how many of those 116,200 absentee ballots were sent to people who decided to vote early or vote on Election Day or decided not to vote.

The percentage won’t be known until after the Nov. 12 deadline for absentee ballots to arrive at the elections offices across the state, and even of the absentee ballots that arrive by the deadline, not all will be counted because many will have issues such as no signature or no witness signature.

In the end the total will be far lower than 116,200 votes, but until Nov. 12 nobody knows how much lower.