FACT CHECK: Viral Post Makes False Claim About North Carolina Gubernatorial Vote Counts

Elias Atienza | Fact Check Reporter

An image shared on Facebook claims the combined vote tallies for two North Carolina gubernatorial candidates exceeded the number of people who voted in the state elections.

Verdict: False

Voting data from the North Carolina State Board of Elections shows the vote counts for the two gubernatorial candidates does not exceed the number of people who voted in state elections. About 5.54 million ballots in the state were cast in the 2020 general election, according to the North Carolina State Board of Elections.

Fact Check:

The Nov. 4 post attempts to compare vote counts for Democratic North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper and Republican challenger Dan Forest to the alleged number of people that voted to suggest there is a discrepancy indicative of voter fraud in the state.

“OK so Cooper got 2.803,474 votes and Dan got 2.562,116, but 4.5 million voted in NC, so there’s an extra half million votes here, where did the extra votes come from when only 4.5 million voted in NC?” reads the post. “Should I say cheating like mail in ballots ????? The votes added up to 5.365,590.”

Another iteration of the claim reads, “Well riddle me this North Carolina??? Total combined votes for Cooper & Forest is over 5.2 million votes. However only 4.5 million votes were actually cast. Where did the extra half million votes come from?”

However, unofficial voting data available on the North Carolina State Board of Elections website shows that the combined vote counts for Cooper and Forest do not actually exceed the number of people who voted in state elections by 500,000 votes. (RELATED: Viral Image Shows Outdated Voter Registration Numbers in 8 States)

Unofficial data from Nov. 16 on the North Carolina State Board of Elections website shows that about 5.54 million ballots were cast in the 2020 general election out of some 7.36 million registered voters. Approximately 5.52 million people voted in the presidential election as of Nov. 20, with over 2.7 million voting for President Donald Trump and over 2.6 million voting for President-elect Joe Biden, according to the North Carolina State Board of Elections. The Senate election saw over 2.6 million ballots cast for Republican incumbent Thom Tillis and over 2.5 million ballots cast for Democratic challenger Cal Cunningham, plus over 239,000 ballots cast for third-party candidates.

5,502,785 ballots were cast in North Carolina’s gubernatorial election as of Nov. 20, according to the North Carolina State Board of Elections website. Cooper, who won reelection, received 2,834,797 votes, while Forest received 2,586,607. Libertarian Party candidate Steven DiFiore and Constitution Party candidate Al Pisano received 60,448 and 20,933 votes respectively as of Nov. 20, according to the North Carolina State Board of Elections.

It’s unclear where exactly the post’s 4.5 million figure originates. The claim may have arisen from confusion about early voting figures reported before Election Day. The Charlotte Observer, for instance, reported Nov. 2 that over 4.5 million votes in North Carolina had already been cast, either through in-person early voting or through absentee ballot.

Elias Atienza

Fact Check Reporter
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