Nearly three weeks removed from Election Day the results of the governor’s race and the race for state auditor are still not settled as claims of voter fraud, voting irregularities and lawsuits have held up the process, which should have been put to bed tomorrow, under the original election schedule.
Under the original schedule Election Day was to be Nov. 8 and then counties would certify their results 10 days later, with the deadline to demand a recount for statewide races passing Nov. 22.
Under the original schedule the state would complete its canvass on Nov. 29, putting the election to bed for good, but with the county canvasses still out, multiple voter integrity complaints and a lawsuit calling for same-day registrants’ ballots to be certified before they are counted, the state will not be able to make the Nov. 29 deadline.
According to the North Carolina State Board of Elections public information officer, Pat Gannon, the state may push the deadline back by 10 days under existing state law to make up for the delays on the county level and the pending lawsuit.
Even after the county canvasses come in the election will still likely be far from over as Gov. Pat McCrory made a call for a recount last week on the day of the original deadline to make a demand for a recount for statewide races where the difference is 10,000 votes or less, at last county Democrat Roy Cooper led the governor by about 7,700 votes.
For Incumbent State Auditor Beth Wood and Republican challenger Chuck Stuber the margin is about 3,000 votes.
Over the weekend McCrory, through a release from his campaign, offered to drop his demand for a statewide recount if Durham will do a recount and come up with the same results as the original count.
The Durham County board already unanimously denied an challenge to their results calling for a recount after problems at the poll lead to keeping the polls open later and elections officials manually entering the results of the votes into the record on election night.
From the statement sent out by the McCrory campaign, “Today, attorney and registered Durham County voter Thomas Stark filed a formal appeal with the State Board of Elections in relation to the ‘malfeasance’ in tabulating approximately 90,000 ballots that were reported just before midnight on Election Day. The original complaint reasonably demands the [Durham] County Board of Elections conduct a recount of the original paper ballots before the county’s canvass date. The county denied this request and the Pat McCrory Committee concurs in a call for an expedited appeal of the protest for a full recount of the Durham county early vote ballots. This reasonable request will provide confidence and clarity in the Durham results for the voters of North Carolina. Upon completion of this recount, we can better assess next steps.”
Russell Peck, McCrory’s campaign manager, said that it was concerning that the Durham county board voted not to do a recount
McCrory is looking for the state to get involved after the Durham County Board of Elections unanimously voted not to undertake a recount Nov. 18.
“It was concerning to learn that the Durham County Board decided to not approve a recount after all of the problems that seemed to go on at the polls on election day.
“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,” Peck said. “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.”
In closing the campaign statement said that “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 Governors race.”
It seems that the state board will hear the appeal of the Durham County board decision this week though, State Board Chairman Grant Whitney laid out a timeline for the board to hear the appeal on Thursday.
Cooper is not waiting for an official decision though after claiming victory in the race on election night.
He has already begun work on planning his transition into power and moving into the Governor’s Mansion even though the final results are still seemingly far off, with the possible recount and a federal lawsuit in the way.
Civitas Center for Law and Freedom asks for restraining order to verify same-day registration voters’ ballots
On Friday a federal court will hear the first arguments in the Civitas Institute’s request that the court 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.
The lawsuit was filed by the Civitas Institute Center for Law and Freedom last Tuesday and seeks a ruling under the equal protection clause.
The lawsuit says that voters who register ahead of time and those who vote at one-stop voting sites do not undergo the same verification process.
The center’s lawsuit requests a restraining order against 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 on Tuesday 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.”
The state board has retained private council to defend it against the lawsuit.