The Durham County elections board on Friday denied a protest calling for a hand count of paper ballots from last week’s election.
The three-member board, with two Republicans and one Democrat, voted unanimously Friday to dismiss the protest, saying there wasn’t any substantial evidence of irregularity or misconduct.
Thomas Stark, who filed the protest, said he is considering filing an appeal with the State Board of Elections.
Stark, general counsel for the state Republican Party who said he filed the protest as a county resident, contends the Durham County Board of Elections engaged in “malfeasance” with regard to ensuring the accuracy of votes counted election night. Durham County officials have defended their work, which involved manually entering information after they were unable to upload data from six cards that saved information from ballot tabulators.
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Data from five of the cards could not be uploaded to software because the number of votes per race exceeded the software’s memory limitation. A sixth card may have had a battery problem. Officials instead entered the information from the tabulators’ paper tapes.
The re-election campaign for Republican Gov. Pat McCrory, who trails Democratic Attorney General Roy Cooper by roughly 5,000 votes, has seized on the dispute in casting doubt on results in Durham and elsewhere.
Regardless of whether there is a recount, Stark has said he doesn’t expect any significant changes that would influence the governor’s race.