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Exactly What's to Gain in NC State Ballot Recount?

Gov. Pat McCrory continues his demands for a statewide ballot recount, but says he'll back off if a recount in Durham County validates the original results. (TannerLovelace/Flickr)
Gov. Pat McCrory continues his demands for a statewide ballot recount, but says he'll back off if a recount in Durham County validates the original results. (TannerLovelace/Flickr)
November 30, 2016

RALEIGH, N.C. - More than 20 days after the election, North Carolina's next governor remains in question. Incumbent Gov. Pat McCrory isn't conceding and wants a ballot recount.

Election protests have been filed in 52 of the state's 100 counties. While recounts are not uncommon in individual counties, a statewide recount has never happened since modern vote-counting technology was implemented.

And Gerrick Brenner, the executive director of Progress North Carolina Action, noted that previous recounts for congressional races in the state didn't change the totals by more than six votes.

"The initial vote counting is very accurate," he said. "One can speculate they are just trying to delay the inevitable, to make it harder for a transition for Governor-elect Roy Cooper. They are hell-bent on trying to prove an urban myth of voter fraud."

Currently, Democratic candidate Roy Cooper leads McCrory by 9,700 votes. State law allows candidates to request a recount if fewer than 10,000 votes separate them from the winner. McCrory has said he's making the request because of his campaign's suspicions of voter fraud and a desire to make sure every vote is counted.

McCrory is specifically asking the Durham County Board of Elections to recount votes, but the board has denied his request. In dispute are 90,000 ballots that weren't added to the tally until late on election night, prompting McCrory's campaign to question their legitimacy.

Brenner said with the numbers not on the governor's side, there is much at stake.

"A recount is not free," he added. "A recount will cost about a million-and-a-half dollars, and that money can be spent to hire teaching assistants. Pat McCrory did cut 3,000 teaching assistants during his four years as governor. So, it's a big waste of taxpayer money."

McCrory's campaign said it will accept defeat if a recount in Durham upholds the previous counts. On Monday, the State Board of Elections, controlled by Republicans appointed by McCrory, issued an order requiring that the county boards dismiss election protests filed by the McCrory campaign in 52 counties.

Stephanie Carson/Shaine Smith, Public News Service - NC