State board orders recount of 94,000 Durham County votes

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Roy Cooper, left, has a current lead of more than 10,000 votes over Gov. Pat McCrory.

The governor's race will drag into another month.

The State Board of Elections voted along party lines Wednesday evening to order a machine recount of 94,000 votes in Durham County.

Republican board members who voted in favor of the request said the late election night ballots included irregularities.

"What harm would it do to scan these votes and count them so that no one campaign is going to think 'why wouldn't they count those votes?'" asked board member James Baker.

The votes at the center of the dispute were added around 11:30 p.m. on election night.

Poll numbers showed Gov. Pat McCrory in the lead in his bid for re-election until the addition.

An attorney for the NCGOP argued a recount was necessary after a ballot counting machine in Durham broke as staff counted early votes.

A state election official proofread the results and testified they were accurate, but Republicans said they are not confident in the process.

"It's the duty of the board of elections to properly tabulate, and if there's reasonable suspicion we're here on a protest," said NCGOP attorney Thomas Stark.

Democrats maintain there is no substantial evidence of any wrongdoing.

"There was no irregularity on November 8th in the state of North Carolina as it relates to the gubernatorial election. There was none," said NCSBE board member Joshua Malcolm.

The State Board of Elections had Roy Cooper leading the governor's race by more than 10,000 votes for the first time Wednesday, surpassing the threshold for a mandatory recount.

"Governor McCrory, it's over. Governor-Elect Roy Cooper's lead is more than 10,000, and it's time to accept the will of the people," North Carolina Democratic Party Chairwoman Patsy Keever said Wednesday. "We congratulate Governor-Elect Cooper again on a hard-fought victory, and we look forward to working with him to build a better North Carolina."

Cooper leads McCrory statewide with 94 of 100 counties having completed their counting.

The NCGOP said it has not ruled out a request for a statewide recount.

"Nobody lost today. Everybody won because we are going to be able to put these matters to bed and answer the questions that have been out there for a month," said NCGOP Executive Director Dallas Woodhouse.

The Durham County Board of Election chairman told ABC11 a recount could take as long as a week and cost tens of thousands of dollars.


The board will hold a special meeting to start the process.

McCrory's campaign released a statement following Wednesday's vote.

"We are pleased that the State Board of Elections has recognized the voting irregularities in Durham County and we will respect whatever the results show," said Pat McCrory campaign manager Russell Peck. "We ask that this is done immediately."

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