The State Board of Elections voted 3-2 along party lines Wednesday to order a machine recount of 90,000 votes 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 two Democrats on the board opposed the recount, arguing that no evidence suggested any mistakes in counting Durham votes. “What harm would it do to scan these votes and count them?” said board member and retired Judge James Baker, a Republican. “It’s not likely to change anything. There was enough of an irregularity to make people wonder.”
The roughly 90,000 votes under scrutiny in Durham were added to the statewide tally around 11:30 p.m. on election night. McCrory, who is seeking a second term, appeared to be leading statewide until those votes were added to the total; Democrat Roy Cooper, North Carolina’s attorney general, has been leading in the count ever since.
Baker said the late shift could have reminded voters of fraudulent elections in which corrupt officials added to the vote count if their candidate was behind. He said that practice was once common in Madison County, a rural county near Asheville where he lives.
“I’m not saying that’s what happened here,” Baker said. “I personally don’t have any reason to doubt that any information entered was correct.”