Gov. Pat McCrory is ready to withdraw his request for a statewide recount if a new hand count of Durham County votes produces the same results as Election Day, his campaign announced Saturday evening.
The governor is asking the N.C. State Board of Elections to hold an expedited hearing on an appeal of the Durham County election board’s denial of a request for a recount there. The state board on Saturday called for a Sunday afternoon meeting by phone to discuss this matter and a federal lawsuit challenging same-day registration ballots.
“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,” the campaign’s news release says.
McCrory has been trailing Attorney General Roy Cooper by about 7,700 votes as counties around the state finalize their counts with provisional and absentee ballots. McCrory, in order to meet a deadline last week, gave notice that he would request a statewide recount.
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He is permitted to demand a recount as long as the margin between him and Cooper remains less than 10,000 votes.
Durham has been at the center of allegations of voter improprieties, mostly promulgated by Republican officials and the McCrory campaign, in complaints filed in about half of the counties. The first county election boards to review those complaints, however, have not found significant abuses. In addition to the computer glitches, the eligibility of a number of votes has also been contested, such as accusing voters of being felons, voting in two states or that ballots were cast be dead people.
Durham began a hot spot on election night when Cooper, after trailing McCrory as results were tabulated most of the night, suddenly surged ahead after about 90,000 votes from Durham County came in late. Elections officials there said computer problems delayed the final county that night, and that there were no indications of irregularities.
Republican Party counsel Thomas Stark of Durham asked for the countywide recount, which was denied. The McCrory campaign committee is now asking the state board to quickly order a recount of Durham County’s early voting ballots.
Depending on what those results show, McCrory will be ready to “assess the next steps,” the release says.
“It was concerning to learn that the Durham County Board decided to not approve attorney Tom Stark's protest to recount the early vote totals from election night,” McCrory campaign manager Russell Peck said in the release. “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.
“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.”
The appeal asks that Durham County recounted votes be done by hand.