After the State Board of Elections effectively rejected Republican protests about ineligible voters, Durham County is the last point of contention in the unresolved governor’s race – and the N.C. Republican Party said Tuesday that a recount there could resolve the election within days. The board will meet Wednesday afternoon to review a request for a recount of early votes in Durham County. As the final absentee and provisional ballots are tallied this week, Democrat Roy Cooper had a lead of around 9,800 votes late Tuesday over Republican Gov. Pat McCrory. McCrory is entitled to a statewide recount if the margin remains under 10,000 votes. Cooper got 79 percent of the vote in Durham County, and the Democratic stronghold has been a frequent target of Republican election complaints.
Republicans want about 90,000 Durham ballots to be recounted by hand, arguing that they were counted by faulty machines on Election Day. The Durham County Board of Elections, which like all county election boards is controlled by Republicans, rejected the request, saying there was no evidence of irregularities or misconduct.
“We have an opportunity to bring the 2016 election to a close within the next few days,” NC GOP executive director Dallas Woodhouse said at a news conference Tuesday morning. “Durham County is going to recount its votes, or the entire state will if that is an option.”
Woodhouse also rejected speculation that the state legislature might intervene and use its power to decide the governor’s race. “That will never happen,” he said, adding that suggestions to the contrary are “demagoguery at the highest order.”