Governor Pat McCrory has filed a request with the State Board of Elections asking for a recount, the same day the board met in Raleigh to provide guidance to counties on the rash of Republican-backed election protests and told the counties to keep counting votes despite those ongoing protests.
A written order is coming later today to clarify the full directions offered by the state board. With news of the recount, it’s all but certain that we won’t have a certified winner of the election until next month—at the earliest.
During the meeting, Secretary Rhonda Amoroso, a Wilmington Republican, also raised the issue—several times—of a Civitas Institute lawsuit that challenges the legality of same-day voter registration. Although McCrory lawyer John Branch said that he only found out about that lawsuit thirty-five minutes before the hearing began at 10 a.m., McCrory’s team did say, when asked if the outcome of the election could change, that the Civitas lawsuit could change the results.
Southern Coalition for Social Justice lawyer Allison Riggs addressed concerns raised during the state board’s Sunday teleconference about active felons apparently voting. A “crosscheck” the state board’s chief information officer ran purportedly found 339 active felons who voted during early and absentee voting.
Riggs said that out of three challenges based on this criteria in Wake County, two were a mix-up of juniors and seniors, and in Guilford, half of these challenges were against people who had only committed a misdemeanor.
“These are specious claims,” Riggs said. “They’re unfounded and poorly researched.”
Democracy NC has also run its own analysis of forty-three voters who have been challenged based on felon status and found that eighteen of them (42 percent) are not currently serving sentences, fourteen are on probation for misdemeanors (which doesn’t eliminate the right to vote), and four haven’t been convicted of any crime whatsoever.
In a statement, Democracy NC executive director Bob Hall said these accusations against voters amount to slander.
“It’s incredibly irresponsible for Govenor McCrory to allow these poorly researched accusations against voters to continue,” Hall said. “He and his allies are exposing themselves to charges of slandering voters. … It’s shameful and it should stop.”
McCrory’s request for a recount came around the time the meeting ended. In his request, McCrory wrote: “With serious concerns about potential voter fraud emerging across the state, it is becoming apparent that a thorough recount is one way the people of North Carolina can have confidence in the results, process and system.”
“With many outstanding votes yet to be counted for the first time, legal challenges, ballot protests and voter fraud allegations, we must keep open the ability to allow the established recount process to ensure every legal vote is counted properly,” Russell Peck, Pat McCrory’s campaign manager, said in a statement.
“This is nothing but a last-ditch effort from Governor McCrory to delay and deny the results of this election,” the Cooper campaign said in its response.
At last count on the NCSBE website, Cooper is up by 6,251 votes. In a press release from this morning, the Cooper campaign claimed that its lead had grown to 8,569 votes; multiple emails asking how they’re getting different numbers haven’t been answered.