Durham County must complete a recount of 90,000 votes by 7 p.m. Monday, according to a State Board of Elections order issued late Thursday. The state board voted 3-2 along party lines Wednesday to order a machine recount of votes cast during early voting 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.
The recount order says that Durham County interim election director Kate Cosner must submit a written plan for the machine recount by noon Friday, and state elections officials can then modify the plan. Durham must finish the recount and submit the final election results to the State Board of Elections by 7 p.m. Monday, according to the order. The state’s timeline requires a speedier recount than county officials had initially expected.
Earlier Thursday, Durham County Board of Elections Chairman Bill Brian said he didn’t yet have a timeline for the recount. “We’re still trying to develop a plan” with county and staff election staffers, he said, adding that he expected the recount to occur by the end of next week.
Election officials have said that the process of running the 90,000 ballots through tabulating machines would take about eight hours once workers can begin.