N.C. governor challenges ‘voting irregularities’ in Durham, demands recount

by WorldTribune Staff, November 13, 2016

An attorney for the campaign of North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory has filed a formal protest, seeking a recount of 90,000 ballots in Durham County that appeared to have been tabulated from corrupted memory cards.

“It appeared that some of the data from prior elections had not been cleared out, and people were being improperly listed as having already voted,” Durham County Board of Elections Chair Bill Brian said. “They didn’t have the right software, it appears. Why that happened, we don’t know yet.”

Roy Cooper, left, and Gov. Pat McCrory
Roy Cooper, left, and Gov. Pat McCrory

Democrat Roy Cooper is ahead of McCrory by 5,000 votes. But at least 50,000 provisional ballots still must be examined. Counties must submit their final results by Nov. 18.

Jason Torchinsky, chief legal counsel for the Pat McCrory Committee Legal Defense Fund, said that what happened in Durham County is “extremely troubling and no citizen can have confidence in the results at this point in time.”

“The Durham County Board of Elections has a history of mishandling elections and it is unfortunate that this one appears to be no different,” Torchinsky said.

Cooper campaign spokesman Jamal Little described the GOP claims of “malfeasance” in the tabulations as “a desperate attempt by the McCrory campaign to overturn results of an election they have lost.”

Cooper has already declared victory.

Durham County took its electronic voting system offline on Election Day after problems with the system arose at several precincts. Some memory cards, which hold the results from each machine at each location, were not being properly read by election systems and the machines experienced a critical error.

It was the first year Durham County used the electronic system.

Amid the technological glitches, the State Board of Elections extended poll hours at eight precincts, but not for as long as the county board had requested.

Wake County Superior Court Judge Don Stephens denied a motion to extend voting until 9 p.m. at all Durham precincts. The hearing was scheduled after the Southern Coalition for Social Justice filed a lawsuit on behalf of Democracy North Carolina to keep Durham polls open.

Stephens said that as long as the state board did what it needed to do with the eight problem-laden precincts, no voter in Durham who wanted to would’ve been stopped from voting.

The judge also threw some criticism Durham’s way.

“Durham, historically, hasn’t figured out how to carry out an election,” Stephens said.

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