Following a statewide trend, Watauga County saw its highest presidential election turnout in years, at 71.62 percent, in 2020.

Watauga County’s 2020 election results are official following the Board of Elections’ canvass meeting, held Nov. 13.

Provisional ballots — did not change the outcome of any races

The five-member board voted to sustain five challenges, including an early voter who died before Election Day, a voter who was convicted of a felony this year, two voters who reside in Avery County and a mail-in absentee ballot received from a woman who also voted in person on Election Day. The woman, an Appalachian State student, told elections staff that after some confusion about whether her absentee ballot had been mailed yet, she went to vote on Election Day, unaware that her mother had mailed in her absentee ballot for her from Charlotte.

The five challenged ballots were not counted in the final election results.

Board member Eric Eller moved to send the case of the double-voter to authorities for an investigation, but the motion failed.

At 71.62 percent, Watauga County’s 2020 turnout was higher than in 2016, at 65.33 percent; 2012, at 62 percent; and 2008, at 68 percent, according to previous Watauga Democrat reports. By comparison, North Carolina turnout in those years was 75 percent in 2020, 69 percent in 2016, 68 percent in 2012 and 70 percent in 2008, according to the State Board of Elections.

In neighboring Ashe County, turnout was even higher, at 81.46 percent, according to the SBOE. Avery County had a 76.88 percent turnout rate, Caldwell was at 78.41 percent and Wilkes was at 81.06 percent.

According to the SBOE, of the 32,346 votes cast in Watauga County this election, 27,893 were mail-in absentee or one-stop early ballots. Of that, 22,485 voted early and 5,408 voted by mail-in ballot.

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