Officials have seen no evidence supporting questions raised about the accuracy of more than 94,000 votes that were counted manually on election night, Durham County Board of Elections Chairman Bill Brian said Tuesday. “We have seen no evidence to that effect,” Brian said during a Tuesday press conference. “Mr. (Thomas) Stark may have some, but we have seen no evidence to that effect.” Stark, general counsel for the state Republican Party, filed a formal protest Friday contending that the Durham County Board of Elections engaged in “malfeasance” with regard to ensuring the accuracy of votes counted Nov. 8. Durham County officials had to manually enter information after they were unable to upload data from six cards that saved information from ballot tabulators. The votes were pivotal on election night, pushing Democratic gubernatorial candidate Roy Cooper ahead of Republican Gov. Pat McCrory, whose campaign has expressed concern about the votes. Cooper, the state’s attorney general, leads McCrory by about 5,000 votes with some absentee and provisional votes yet to be counted. McCrory can call for a recount so long as the margin between them remains less than 10,000 votes.
… Votes cast at precincts and one-stop voting locations are stored on tabulator data storage cards and recorded on a paper tape, creating two separate records. Election officials typically upload the information from cards to quickly report it to the State Board of Elections. On Nov. 8, they couldn’t pull data off six cards, election officials have said. Five of the cards were from one-stop early voting locations, and one was from Precinct 29, at Glenn Elementary School. In response, officials reviewed the information on the paper tapes and entered it manually.
Stark’s protest questions whether the tape that Durham County officials relied on was also corrupt, and whether “well meaning” election officials should rely on “bleary eyes and tired hands.”
“Rather, it should take the obvious and necessary step of taking the paper ballots that were originally fed into the M100 machines with the corrupted data systems, and manually hand count those ballots prior to any formal audit or canvass,” the protest states.
Brian, however, said Tuesday he is “very confident” in the tapes Durham County officials used to count the votes. He said a recount would take days.