The recount of about 94,000 ballots in Durham County should be finished well before the 7 p.m. Monday deadline, officials said Sunday as the tabulations were in full swing. The Durham County Board of Elections hired more than 50 locals and brought in extra vote-counting machines to help speed the recount, which began Saturday afternoon after emergency meetings held by both the county board and the state board of elections that tackled controversial election issues around the state. Workers were on pace to count more than two-thirds of the disputed ballots by the end of the day Sunday, officials said, leaving more than enough time Monday to finish the rest and let people know where the governor’s race stands. The recount worked like an assembly line. One worker handed ballots to another worker standing at one of 26 machines, feeding them in. Others watched to make sure everything was proper. Several hours into Sunday’s work, the recount was averaging approximately 5,000 ballots per hour.
The work was ordered by the State Board of Elections over the objections of local leaders, who said it was unnecessary and a waste of money. “I think the whole community feels like they’re being picked on,” said Bill Brian, the county’s elections chairman.
He estimates the hiring of more than 50 people, at more than $13 an hour, will cost Durham County taxpayers about $35,000. Then there are additional costs like a higher utilities bill, having to hire electricians to inspect the office before firing up so many machines at once, and having to pay the local government employees who were working overtime this weekend.