Both sides dig in as governor's race drags on

Posted November 23, 2016

— A conservative group filed a request Wednesday for an urgent hearing on North Carolina voters who cast ballots through same-day registration, while the state NAACP criticized the legal action as playing games with the state's still-undecided contest for governor.

The latest volley over the tight race also included a news conference by the state GOP calling for more scrutiny of ballots in Democratic-leaning Durham County. The moves come a day after Republican Gov. Pat McCrory began the process of requesting a recount.

Unofficial numbers from the State Board of Elections show Democrat Roy Cooper with a lead of about 7,700 votes over McCrory, a margin that has grown since Election Night. Nearly two-dozen of the state's 100 counties — including several of its most populous — hadn't finished their tallies by Wednesday afternoon.

The trailing candidate will be eligible for a recount if the margin is 10,000 votes or less after ballots are tallied.

The leader of the conservative-leaning Civitas Institute filed a motion in federal court seeking a preliminary injunction and an expedited hearing on the lawsuit it filed this week.

The lawsuit asks a federal court to require that the state Board of Elections refrain from certifying election results until it has finished verifying same-day registrants. The lawsuit argues verification can't properly be finished until December because of a mailing process that takes a month. Statewide results were scheduled for certification Nov. 29, but state officials can delay that tally.

Lawyers for the Civitas Institute wrote Wednesday that a hearing on the matter was urgently needed because the vote count is underway.

But that lawsuit was criticized by North Carolina NAACP president William Barber, who called it part of a multifaceted effort to delay election results that are unfavorable McCrory and his Republican allies.

"The election is over, and it's time for the games to stop," Barber said at a news conference.

Barber said the issue of same-day registration was settled when a federal appeals court restored that ability for voters in a July ruling. The court overturned several parts of a wide-ranging 2013 elections law enacted by the GOP.

Bob Hall, executive director of the nonprofit Democracy North Carolina, said some voters are being maligned with false accusations that they're felons. Elections protests have been filed in counties around the state, adding to the slow pace of the statewide count.

Hall said his group examined 43 cases around the state in which voters were accused of being ineligible to vote because of felonies. He found that five involved mistaken identity, and more than a dozen others were for voters convicted of misdemeanors, not felonies.

At a separate news conference later, officials with the state GOP said the NAACP has mischaracterized Republicans' motives behind looking closely at the vote — which they say is a normal part of the electoral process. The GOP also said Durham County's 6,000 absentee ballots should have more scrutiny to see if there are any unusual patterns.

State GOP executive director Dallas Woodhouse said it's important to have a thorough look at how votes are counted and who's eligible.

"I'm not saying there is anything illegitimate," he said. "I'm just saying we're not finished."


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  • Carrie Hurrelbrink Nov 23, 2016
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    The NAACP should keep their noses out of everything! It's none of their business.

  • Debra Baker Nov 23, 2016
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    Has the person who signed multiple ballots been arrested? We need voter ID. It makes no sense to not show identification. You show your ID in TX, Va, and Canada. I am very concerned that hundreds of ballots were found signed by one person. I can't seem to find any articles about this fraud. Everything is about 2 years ago or more.

  • James Jones Nov 23, 2016
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    The liberals are getting what they deserve, McCrory was on the way out too start with . When the liberals calmed that required ID was racial discriminating having the Democrat controlled appeals court appeal the law so live with it. Voter fraud does occur and the Democrat party supports these actions. Their will not be enough for McCrory to win the election. Rev. William Barber for President....

  • Sheryl Caps Nov 23, 2016
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    Billy Smith, looks like the NAACP is not speaking for the entire state. The entire state is commenting and speaking loud and clear..........Concede! Concede! Concede!

  • Carol Smith Nov 23, 2016
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    View quoted thread

    they are also the face of two other discriminatory laws...the religious freedom act that was directed at the gay community and the voter supression act. Too bad Berger and Moore will be around.

  • Carol Smith Nov 23, 2016
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    Mccrory's behavior is pathetic.

  • Drew Savicki Nov 23, 2016
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    McCrory has lost and must concede. A recount won't change anything.

  • Rita Krafft Nov 23, 2016
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    McCrory needs to concede.....this is ridiculous..!

  • Mike Voiland Nov 23, 2016
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    The attempt to discredit and delay the final official count for this race is a disgrace that every NC'er -- whether Republican or Democrat-- should reject. The GOP is essentially fighting and insulting the honesty and integrity of the state BOE as well as every county BOE, all of which have a GOP chair and majority membership
    The NCGOP is so partisan, biased, and so eager to retain their yes-man governor that undermining the credibility of the state's election system and process does not matter to them.
    Shameful behavior, but that's what we have come to expect from the NCGOP!

  • Betsy Sparks Nov 23, 2016
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    Bladen County's issue is a write-in vote for Soil & Conservation. There were a number of ballots with a write-in candidate that look liked the same handwriting. With all of the Republican victories, it should be obvious that McCrory lost. Why would there be voter fraud for a governor whose veto can be overridden by the General Assembly supermajority? And why would the Lt. Governor's race - and so many other Council of State officers - be so conclusively decided? McCrory is the public face of HB2 and voter ID laws, and the GA is more than willing to let him take the fall.