All the counting was supposed to be all but over by Friday, but North Carolina’s too-close-to-call governor’s race remains nowhere near done, the State Board of Elections said Thursday. Election officials say delays in receiving information from the Department of Motor Vehicles are causing many of the problems. A federal judge ordered that votes of people who signed up at DMV offices must be counted unless the agency proves they refused to register. Lots of formal local challenges also are postponing final totals as state board figures late Thursday showed Democratic Attorney General Roy Cooper leading McCrory by about 4,600 of the nearly 4.7 million votes already tallied. By Friday, all 100 counties were supposed to finish deciding whether to count or set aside more than 60,000 mailed-in absentee and provisional ballots statewide, unseal the voters’ choices and send updated vote totals for dozens of races to the State Board of Elections.
More than half of the counties, including the highest-voting Wake County, held meetings Thursday to work through piles of ballots. By late Thursday, board spokesman Pat Gannon said “many, if not all” of the counties won’t finish before by Friday’s canvass deadline.
Counties are still working through formal election protests, supported by Republican Gov. Pat McCrory’s campaign, that question early in-person vote totals and challenge whether some mailed-in ballots were forged by supporters of Democratic candidates.
Cooper declared himself the winner on election night, and said he expects the final certified results to favor him. Cooper’s spokesman, Ford Porter, noted Thursday that McCrory’s DMV is to blame for the latest delays. Races for state auditor and a handful of legislative seats also remain too close to call.