Recount

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North Carolina: The governor’s race still isn’t over. And it’s about to get even uglier. | The Washington Post

One of the most hotly contested races of 2016 is still being contested. And the North Carolina governor’s race could drag on past Thanksgiving in an ugly way: The Democrat is declaring victory but the Republican incumbent is refusing to concede, and his campaign is raising the possibility of voter fraud. There could even be a recount. Cooper declared victory early Wednesday with a 5,000-vote lead over McCrory out of 4.6 million votes cast. That’s a 0.5 percentage point lead, and it’s small enough that McCrory isn’t willing to concede until thousands of provisional, absentee and military ballots are counted and the election results certified by state election officials. In fact, on Thursday afternoon, McCrory’s campaign announced they hired a lawyer and set up a legal defense fund in preparation to contest the results. Read More

Editorials: Better hope the election’s not close | Michael McDonald/USA Today

The revival of Hillary Clinton’s email woes and a trend toward tightening polls are giving Donald Trump new hope of winning the White House. Could this election go into overtime? If the race is exceptionally close, we can’t rule out an overtime period that, in this environment, could rip the country apart. It is absolutely fair for any candidate to exercise his rights to ask for a recount if the election is particularly close. We should have all confidence that the election results are accurate. When the Supreme Court halted the Florida recount he had requested in 2000, Al Gore graciously accepted the results. “For the sake of our unity as a people and the strength of our democracy, I offer my concession,” he said. However, Gore’s conciliatory tone is not Trump’s rhetoric of “rigged” elections, which he regularly uses to whip up his supporters. He talks of people casting fraudulent votes and stationing observers to “watch” the election. Trump questions the process itself, describing how election officials count ballots: “Oh here’s a ballot. Here’s another ballot, throw it away. Oh, here’s one I like. We’ll keep that one.” This is where a real nightmare for America’s democracy could unfold. What if the initial tally on election night favors Trump but as more votes are counted in the following days, the results shift in Clinton’s favor? It does not take too much imagination to predict Trump would be outraged, with an emphasis on rage. Read More

National: Election law doesn’t care if Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton ever concedes | CNN

The prospect of election night drama seems to dwindle with each new round of polling. But Donald Trump, perhaps trying to author a campaign cliffhanger, is determined to provide Americans with at least a measure of “suspense” on November 8. Barring a remarkable turnaround — “Brexit times five” as Trump put it last week — Americans will begin their post-election Wednesday with a President-elect Clinton on the horizon. But whether her opponent sees fit to embrace defeat and publicly concede is mostly immaterial. “It doesn’t have any independent legal effect,” said Rick Hasen, a University of California-Irvine professor who runs the popular Election Law Blog. “If he concedes or he doesn’t concede, the votes totals will be what they will be.” Recounts are triggered automatically in 20 states and the District of Columbia when the margin of victory is sufficiently narrow, according to different laws in each of those states. The parameters vary — in Florida and Pennsylvania, it’s a margin of 0.5% or less of the total vote, while Michigan requires a deficit of 2,000 votes or less. Read More

National: The Supreme Court’s Election Day ‘Doomsday scenario’ | CNN

Legal experts call it the worst-case scenario: The day after the election arrives and the outcome turns on a dispute in one state. As things stand now, the suggestion seems remote. But with Donald Trump refusing to promise he will accept the results of next month’s election, eyes naturally turn to the Supreme Court. The problem: there are only eight justices — four nominated by Republicans, four by Democrats. So what happens if they split, 4-4? “That’s the doomsday scenario,” veteran Supreme Court advocate Carter Phillips told an audience this fall, responding to a hypothetical question about a candidate who suspected the election was rigged and went to the courts. Phillips explained that if the court were to deadlock it would mean the justices were left to simply affirm a lower court opinion. Election law expert Joshua Douglas of the University of Kentucky College of Law says that power could end up resting with the lower courts, including even a state supreme court consisting of judges who were elected in a battleground state. Read More

National: For Trump, challenging an election loss would be tough | Reuters

If Donald Trump were to challenge the outcome of next month’s presidential election, as he has hinted he might, he would face a difficult and expensive fight, according to election attorneys and a review of voting laws in key battleground states. Trump has said he is worried the Nov. 8 election might be rigged in favor of his opponent, Hillary Clinton, and in Wednesday’s debate he refused to say he would accept the outcome. But before any court challenge, Trump probably would have to ask for a recount, said Donald Brey, a Republican election lawyer in Ohio. If the campaign did not pursue out-of-court options first, he said, a judge likely would dismiss the case. Recount rules vary from state to state. North Carolina, for example, doesn’t allow a presidential candidate to request a recount at all if one candidate has a lead of more than 0.5 percent of the total votes cast. In Wisconsin, the challenging candidate must pay the full expense of a recount if the vote in dispute is more than 0.25 percent, and in Colorado if it is more than 0.5 percent. Read More

Bosnia: Srebrenica Votes Recounted as Bosniaks Seek Annulment | Balkan Insight

As a vote recount for the disputed mayoralty of Srebrenica began on Monday in Sarajevo, the Bosniak-led Party of Democratic Action, SDA called for a complete annulment of the local polls in the wartime flashpoint town. According to the SDA, which is led by the Bosniak member of the country’s tripartite presidency, Bakir Izetbegovic, the legality of the vote was violated when police special forces from Republika Srpska entered the municipality election commission’s headquarters last Tuesday. “Members of the SDA are seeking to nullify the elections in Srebrenica, because [the RS Ministy of Security’s intervention] grossly undermined the integrity of the electoral process,” said the SDA in a statement. According to the statement, the interference constituted a violation of Bosnia’s electoral code, which stipulates that the Municipal Election Commission is responsible for collecting and processing results. Read More

Alaska: Judge reverses House District 40 primary, gives Nageak a two-vote edge | Alaska Public Media

Superior Court Judge Andrew Guidi ordered the Division of Elections to certify that incumbent Benjamin Nageak of Barrow won the primary over Dean Westlake of Kotzebue by a two-vote margin. The outcome of the primary could determine who organizes a House majority. While both are Democrats, Nageak caucuses with the Republican-led House majority, and Westlake said he’ll caucus with the Democrats. The decision reverses the outcome of a recount, which had Westlake winning by eight votes. Nageak, who is the co-chairman of the House Resources Committee, expressed relief. “I’m pleased by the court’s result and hopeful it will be sustained during the appeal to the Supreme Court,” Nageak said. “I’m sure that’s where it’s going to go. And I hope this decision will result in improvement of training.”  Read More

Alaska: Nageak’s lawsuit against state election officials to proceed | The Alaska Journal of Commerce

The case of Rep. Ben Nageak, D-Barrow, vs. Lt. Gov. Byron Mallott and Director of Elections Josie Bahnke will start on Tuesday, Sept. 27. Superior Court Judge Andrew Guidi has ruled that the trial must begin next week and end no later than Oct. 3 so that the Division of Elections will have proper time to mail ballots ahead of the general election. Attorney Stacey Stone, representing Nageak, requested additional time to put together a comprehensive witness list, as rural witnesses must be both properly vetted and logistically organized, continue the discovery process, and issue the necessary subpoenas. “The reality is that absentee voting starts on Oct. 24,” countered Assistant Attorney General Margaret Paton-Walsh. “That means ballots need to be mailed out by Oct. 17 which means we probably need a decision by the Supreme Court by Oct. 14.” In order for that to happen however, Guidi would need to make a decision by Oct. 7. Read More

Gabon: Vote Audit Despite Burned Ballots | Newsweek

Gabon’s ambassador to the United States has said that a recount of votes in the country’s controversial August election would be impossible, since the ballots had been burned, despite announcing a review of the result on Monday. Michael Moussa-Adamo, the Central African country’s representative to the U.S., stated in a letter to the New York Times on Monday that the Gabonese Constitutional Court would undertake a review of the election result, including a “recount of the vote.” The country’s electoral commission declared President Ali Bongo Ondimba the winner of the vote, sparking violent protests among supporters of opposition candidate Jean Ping. Read More

Gabon: Court to Recount Disputed Vote Results, Ambassador Says | Bloomberg

Gabon’s Constitutional Court will recount the ballots cast in presidential elections last month following days of violent protests against the outcome that showed President Ali Bongo won by fewer than 10,000 votes, according to the nation’s ambassador to the U.S. “A recount of the vote will be completed by the Constitutional Court and the winner confirmed,” Michael Moussa-Adamo said in a letter late Monday to the New York Times. “The State Department and the African Union stated that any challenge to the election results conform to Gabonese election law. The Constitutional Court’s review will also conform to the law.” He didn’t say when the recount will take place. Read More