Published 10:32 am Wednesday, November 23, 2016

RALEIGH – As expected, Pat McCrory wishes to remain the Governor of North Carolina.

However, if he is to earn another four-year term in office, he will have to overcome a deficit of more than 6,000 votes.

On Tuesday, McCrory filed the paperwork with the North Carolina Board of Elections, asking for a statewide recount of all ballots cast in his race against Democratic challenger Roy Cooper.

Tuesday was the deadline for filing such a request. It came one day after counties across the state performed their respective canvasses. North Carolina General Statutes allow a candidate running for a office on the State Council to ask for a recount if they are trailing by 10,000 votes or less.

The still unofficial tally from the Nov. 8 General Election showed McCrory trailing Cooper by 4,879 votes out of over 4.5 million cast during the election cycle. By 5 p.m. on Monday (Nov. 21), Cooper’s lead had grown to 6,839 votes (as of 4:41 p.m. on Monday, Nov. 21).

As of Tuesday, the State Board of Elections said Cooper’s advantage had slightly declined to 6311 votes.

Meanwhile, some county election boards are still counting provisional and late absentee ballots

“With many outstanding votes yet to be counted for the first time, legal challenges, ballot protests and voter fraud allegations, we must keep open the ability to allow the established recount process to ensure every legal vote is counted properly,” said Russell Peck, Pat McCrory’s campaign manager, in a press release sent Tuesday.

The campaign manager for Cooper called the move a last-ditch effort by McCrory to delay and deny the results of the election.

“Roy Cooper leads by 8,569 votes – a number that is growing daily as counties finalize election results,” Trey Nix said in a press release, also sent Tuesday. “We are confident that a recount will do nothing to change the fact that Roy Cooper has won this election.”

While the McCrory camp is crying foul over what they deem as illegal votes, the Civitas Institute, a conservative group, has filed a lawsuit saying North Carolina can’t finish tallying its close governor’s race until it verifies the residency of thousands of voters who used same-day registration.

Civitas is asking a federal court to require that the state Board of Elections refrain from certifying election results until it has completed verification of same-day registrants.

North Carolina law allows people to register and cast a ballot on the same day during the early voting period by offering proof of their address.

The lawsuit says North Carolina law requires election officials to check the residency of same-day registrants by sending them mail and seeing if it comes back returned.

Since state elections board guidelines indicate that 30 days should be allowed for the mailing process, the lawsuit says the overall tallying of votes can’t be finished before December 7.

“I commend the Civitas Institute for taking a strong step to ensure all voters are treated the same under the law,” stated NCGOP Chairman Robin Hayes. “The Citivas Institute is asking the federal court to require the State Board of Elections to complete address verification of same-day registrants before they become part of the final vote count. It is wrong to require this of most registered voters but to exempt others. Our constitutional system requires the equal protection and treatment of all voters, and we are determined in our quest to make that happen.”

About Cal Bryant

Cal Bryant, a 40-year veteran of the newspaper industry, serves as the Editor at Roanoke-Chowan Publications, publishers of the Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald, Gates County Index, and Front Porch Living magazine.

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