by WorldTribune Staff, November 28, 2016
The campaign of North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory is focusing its recount challenge on Durham County and possible “malfeasance” regarding 94,000 ballots reported by the county’s board of elections just before midnight on Election Day.
“If a Durham recount provides the same results as earlier posted, the McCrory Committee will be prepared to withdraw its statewide recount request in the governor’s race,” the McCrory campaign said.
According to a RedState report, McCrory led by just over 52,000 votes before Durham County announced the 94,000 ballots had been left out of their initial count. With their addition, Democratic challenger Roy Cooper took a 3,000 vote lead.
The latest count from the state board has Cooper with a 7,742-vote lead over McCrory out of more than 4.69 million votes cast.
The State Board of Elections will hold a hearing later this week on an appeal focused on how the Durham County elections board processed the 94,000 ballots on Election Day.
“We want to proceed sooner given the critical nature of what’s at stake here,” said Grant Whitney Jr., chairman of the state board.
Durham County has had a long history of voting irregularities. Superior Court Judge Donald Stephens stated in a recent hearing that “Durham historically hasn’t figured out how to carry out an election properly.”
“The malfunctions and irregularities in Durham have been extremely troubling to this campaign and the people of North Carolina, and the State Board confirmed several errors,” said Russell Peck, campaign manager for the McCrory Committee.
“We are now left with no other position but to request the State Board of Elections expeditiously order a full recount of Durham County early vote totals. Once this occurs, we can all move towards a conclusion of this process.”
The state board also voted 5-0 to retain outside counsel to address a lawsuit filed last week by Francis De Luca, president of The Civitas Institute.
De Luca wants a federal judge in the Eastern District of North Carolina to issue a preliminary injunction that prevents the state board from certifying results until it has verified the mailing addresses of more than 90,000 same-day registrants during the early voting period.
A hearing on De Luca’s request has been set for Dec. 2 in Raleigh.
North Carolina law says a candidate cannot take office until the state board has certified the race results. Statewide certification was initially set to be made on Nov. 29, but that now could be delayed until at least Dec. 9.
Under state law, the legislature is allowed to intervene if it can be proven that the winning candidate is ineligible or unqualified to serve, or that there are errors in vote tabulation.