The North Carolina State Board of Elections ordered a machine recount of 90,000 votes in heavily Democratic Durham County, a request backed by Pat McCrory’s campaign and the state Republican Party. The board’s decision came down to a 3-2 vote on party lines.
More details on the 90,000 votes in question, from the Raleigh News & Observer:
The roughly 90,000 votes under scrutiny in Durham were added to the statewide tally around 11:30 p.m. on election night. McCrory, who is seeking a second term, appeared to be leading statewide until those votes were added to the total; Democrat Roy Cooper, North Carolina’s attorney general, has been leading in the count ever since.
Baker said the late shift could have reminded voters of fraudulent elections in which corrupt officials added to the vote count if their candidate was behind. He said that practice was once common in Madison County, a rural county near Asheville where he lives.
“I’m not saying that’s what happened here,” Baker said. “I personally don’t have any reason to doubt that any information entered was correct.”
Another Republican board member, Rhonda Amoroso of Wilmington, cited past election problems and staffing changes in Durham County as one reason to hold a recount. “I think right now we have a taint,” she said.
McCrory’s campaign said he won’t seek a statewide recount if the Durham votes are recounted. Election officials there said the recount would take about eight hours, so it’s possible the governor’s race could be settled by the end of the week.
In the latest numbers on Wednesday, Cooper’s lead was above 10,000 votes for the first time as the final counties were finishing counting absentee and provisional ballots. Several more counties are expected to finish their tallies by the end of the week; McCrory isn’t eligible for a statewide recount unless the margin is less than 10,000.
Reaction from the Cooper campaign:
What’s the end game in all this? According to News & Observer political reporter Colin Campbell: