Gov. Pat McCrory sent a letter to the State Board of Elections on Tuesday formally requesting a statewide recount for the governor’s race, but with no official county canvass results McCrory can’t yet demand a recount in his race against presumptive victor Roy Cooper.
Statewide candidates are entitled to demand a recount if their race is separated by 10,000 votes or less.
McCrory came in about 5,000 votes short of Cooper on election night.
Chuck Stuber, challenger to incumbent State Auditor Beth Wood was trailing Wood by about 3,000 votes election night, and is joining McCrory in a call for a recount.
McCrory’s camp seems aware of the shift saying that “the formal recount will not occur until after the county boards of election certify their results” but still called for an official recount saying “To protect the voters of North Carolina, Governor Pat McCrory joined Chuck Stuber, candidate for state auditor, in officially filing for a statewide recount Tuesday morning,” in a statement release along with the letter to the state board.
The impetus for the McCrory camp filing for a recount before the statutorily designated time is the original timeline for certifying the results of the election, according to the statement.
Had there been no delays in completing the county canvass on Nov. 18 McCrory would have had two business days to file a demand for a recount, assuming the vote margin was close enough, or Nov. 22, before noon.
But because the county canvasses were delayed, the period to demand a recount has also been pushed back, meaning that McCrory’s declaration likely holds no weight and another demand will likely need to be made to officially demand a recount.
The original deadline for the state board to certify results of Nov. 29 may also be pushed back to accommodate the delays in completing the county canvass and the likely recounts for the governor’s race and the contest for state auditor.
“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 establishes recount process to ensure every legal vote is counted properly,” McCrory Campaign Manager Russell Peck said.
The state GOP expressed its support for McCrory, and also Stuber, in a statement released after McCrory’s letter on Tuesday.
Robin Hayes, NCGOP chairman, said “Since day one, Governor McCrory and the NCGOP have taken issue with Roy Cooper and his personal campaign to take security out of the voting process. We are pleased that today Governor McCrory joined state auditor candidate Chuck Stuber in planning for a statewide recount. This is the only way the public will have confidence in the result, and the winners will have legitimate victories.”
Hayes also made mention of a lawsuit filed by the Civitas Institute Center for Law and Freedom on Tuesday calling on a federal court to require the state to complete address verification of same-day registrants, to ensure that their votes should count, before they are approved as part of the final count.
Civitas is seeking the ruling under the equal protection clause.
“Further, I commend the Civitas Institute for taking a strong step to ensure all voters are treated the same under the law,” Hayes said. “The Civitas Institute is asking the federal court to require the State Board of Elections to complete address verification of same-day registrants before they become part of the final vote count. It is wrong to require this of most registered voters but to exempt others. Our constitutional system requires the equal protection and treatment of all voters, and we are determined in our quest to make that happen.”
Civitas’ lawsuit requests a restraining order against including the same-day registration ballots pending further investigation.
Civitas President Francis De Luca said, “To count ballots without verification of same-day registration information discriminates by treating one class of voters differently from another. Furthermore, this calls into question the outcome of close elections such as the one we are still in the middle of in North Carolina. Legitimate voters should never have their votes cancelled by illegitimate voters. The State Board of Elections should examine every ballot cast via same-day registration to verify that every vote cast is genuine and legitimate.”
Cooper spokesman Ford Porter fired back at Civitas over its lawsuit saying, “Today’s lawsuit by Civitas is just the latest effort to disenfranchise legally registered voters. Instead of attacking North Carolina voters and undermining our democratic process, Gov. McCrory needs to accept his defeat and concede.”