State News

Correcting counting error leads to new leader in Court of Appeals race

Posted December 6, 2010

— Nearly complete results from the instant runoff race for the North Carolina Court of Appeals show the second-place candidate overtaking the leading candidate from the first round of voting.

State elections director Gary Bartlett said Doug McCullough had a roughly 6,700-vote lead over incumbent Cressie Thigpen with counting complete in 99 of the 100 counties. The only one left – Warren County – doesn't have enough votes cast to turn the race back to Thigpen, he said.

If the race stays close, Thigpen would have until Thursday to ask for a recount.

Voters initially ranked up to three candidates among 13 who ran on Election Day. Thigpen was the top recipient of first-place votes – 100,000 more than McCullough.

But McCullough caught up with second- and third-place votes.

That didn't appear to be the case at first. Johnnie McLean, the deputy director of the State Board of Elections, said there was an error in how the vote totals were tracked and written down.

"We've learned a lot in this process," McLean said of the first statewide use of instant-runoff voting.

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  • methinks Dec 7, 2010

    Wait a minute. I thought the instant run off wasn't suppose to be counted that way. They are combining the votes from all three ballots? That is not fair.

  • GoGreen Dec 6, 2010

    Instance runoff? The state will have to defend this in court.