As counties keep counting, Cooper's lead keeps growing

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Tuesday, November 29, 2016
Cooper lead growing
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Roy Cooper and Governor Pat McCrory.

DURHAM (WTVD) -- Roy Cooper's lead over Gov. Pat McCrory in the North Carolina gubernatorial race increased Monday afternoon as The North Carolina State Board of Elections updated its numbers. Cooper now leads McCrory by just over 9,700 votes.

Those numbers are likely to change as 13 counties still have not certified their results.

The election board also said it would meet Wednesday at 4 p.m. in its boardroom to formally consider Republican attorney Thomas Stark's demand for a manual recount of Durham County ballots that could affect the yet-resolved race for governor.

The three-member Durham board decided unanimously Nov. 18 there was no proof the tally of 94,000 ballots was wrong although the results of tabulation machines for early in-person voting were entered on election night into the state's computer by hand because of equipment failure.

Some counties, several of them among the state's largest, haven't finished their counting or have other appeals pending. The state board was supposed to certify a winner this Tuesday but that won't happen now.

McCrory last week began the process to seek a statewide recount once all 100 counties complete their formal canvassing of results, which include counted provisional and absentee ballots. A recount request is granted when the margin is 10,000 votes or less.

In citing the lawyer's request for an expedited hearing, McCrory campaign said in a release Saturday that it will be prepared to withdraw the statewide recount request if "a Durham recount provides the same results as earlier posted."

The statewide recount would be performed by counting machines, not by hand. Board staff said the agency had not received Sunday any formal document from McCrory's campaign affirming the statewide recount withdrawal proposal.

Cooper, the outgoing attorney general, declared himself the winner on election night, when he led by 5,000 votes. His campaign and other Democrats intensified their efforts to get McCrory to concede last week, when Cooper also unveiled his transition team leadership.

Also pending is the lawsuit filed by the leader of a conservative-leaning group last week seeking to prevent a final vote count until all the addresses of voters who used same-day registration during early voting are verified. A federal court hearing is scheduled for Friday in Raleigh to consider the Civitas Institute's demand. The board on Sunday took action to hire private lawyers to represent them in the case.

The court and board actions also could affect other too-close-to-call races for state auditor and a few General Assembly seats.

The Associated Press contributed to this report