Many voters in North Carolina fill in ballots on Election Day, slide them into voting machines, maybe pick up an “I voted” sticker on the way out of the polling place, watch for the results and think it’s all over. But the 2016 elections in North Carolina showed how much can happen after the last ballot is cast. There was a post-election campaign after Democrat Roy Cooper defeated Republican Pat McCrory in a narrow 10,277-vote victory, with voter challenges and recount petitions filed across the state. It wasn’t until a month later that McCrory acknowledged he lost. The monthlong election aftermath from two years ago provides insight into one of the power struggles going on between the Republican-led General Assembly and Cooper. The state elections and ethics board has been in limbo for much of the past year as Cooper has turned to the courts to overturn attempts by lawmakers to have greater sway in who’s appointed to it.
This week, even as the latest changes took effect and the governor sued to block them, Cooper also decided who will preside over elections and ethics questions at the start of the 2018 elections by naming members to the long-dormant board.
In 2016, hundreds of thousands of dollars were spent on legal fees for the series of challenges questioning the outcome of the election, amid claims that some North Carolina voters also were registered in other states and voted twice and that other voters were felons whose right to vote had not been restored.