Elections

Durham elections board denied extension on Monday recount deadline

Stark on Durham decision: 'I think it was wrongly decided'

Thomas Stark, general counsel for the N.C. Republican Party, tells reporters that he believes the Durham Board of Elections was wrong in it's decision denying his petition calling for a hand recount of ballots from the November election.
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Thomas Stark, general counsel for the N.C. Republican Party, tells reporters that he believes the Durham Board of Elections was wrong in it's decision denying his petition calling for a hand recount of ballots from the November election.

The Durham County Board of Elections on Friday unsuccessfully requested an extension of the state’s deadline to recount 90,000 votes – arguing the recount can’t be completed by Monday evening.

Later Friday, the State Board of Elections denied the extension. “State Board officials have been working with Durham County officials to ensure the recount is conducted as expeditiously as possible,” agency spokesman Patrick Gannon said. “At this point, the State Board office does not believe an extension beyond Monday night is necessary.”

The Durham board met Friday morning to discuss the State Board of Elections order that it complete a recount by 7 p.m. Monday. Durham wanted that deadline extended to Wednesday because it expects it will take that long to run 90,000 ballots through its tabulating machines if it begins Sunday morning.

Elections officials say the process – estimated to cost about $35,000 – could move faster if more tabulating machines are made available from other counties.

The state board voted 3-2 along party lines Wednesday to order a machine recount of votes cast during early voting and at several precincts in Durham County, backing a request from Republicans and Gov. Pat McCrory’s campaign.

The three Republicans on the board voted for the recount, saying that the late addition of the 90,000 votes to the statewide tally on election night constituted an “irregularity.” The state board’s decision overturned the Durham County Board of Elections, also controlled by Republicans, which had rejected the recount request as baseless.

The recount could finally settle the governor’s race between McCrory and Democrat Roy Cooper, the state’s attorney general.

Once completed, the Durham recount could prompt a concession from McCrory if the vote count doesn’t change substantially. His campaign said before Wednesday’s State Board of Elections meeting that he wouldn’t seek a statewide recount if the board ordered the Durham recount.

Colin Campbell: 919-829-4698, @RaleighReporter

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