NCGOP attorney demands recount after Durham voting machine error
Posted November 12, 2016
Raleigh, N.C. — In a formal complaint to the Durham County Board of Elections, Thomas Stark, the attorney for the North Carolina Republican Party on Saturday demanded a recount of votes cast on and before Election Day, citing a counting error involving 90,000 ballots.
Thomas Stark, general counsel for the GOP and a Durham County voter, filed the protest with the Durham County Board of Elections, alleging malfeasance in regard to the accuracy of the count. In the complaint, Stark says the county used data from potentially corrupt tabulation machines from five early voting sites and one general election precinct.
A "critical error" in the machines used to scan ballots caused the memory cards to fail, Stark said, which made the data unreadable. To count the votes, Stark said Durham County election officials then printed out a log of the ballots and counted them by hand, which Stark said is unreliable.
"What transpired in Durham County is extremely troubling, and no citizen can have confidence in the results at this point in time," said Jason Torchinsky, chief legal counsel for the Pat McCrory Committee Legal Defense Fund, in a news release. "The Durham County Board of Elections has a history of mishandling elections, and it is unfortunate that this one appears to be no different."
Instead, Stark said the original ballots should be recounted, partly because McCrory and Democrat Roy Cooper are separated by only 5,000 votes.
In response to Stark's complaint, Cooper's campaign on Saturday said the complaint is an effort to undermine the election results.
"What (the NCGOP fails) to mention is that the Durham County Board of Elections is controlled by Republicans who were appointed by Governor McCrory himself," the Cooper campaign said in a release.
The Durham County Board of Elections received notice of the complaint on Friday and will likely hold a hearing about it on Wednesday, according to Chairman Bill Brian.
"I'm perfectly willing to listen to any evidence that's put forward, but I'm not aware of any actual hard evidence. There's a lot of rumor and a lot of innuendo coming from the rumor," Brian said.
"I resent highly the suggestion that elections always go wrong in Durham," he said. "Durham County does not have a history of running bad elections."
The State Board of Elections said it is committed to doing everything it can to ensure voters can be confident in election results. Investigative and administrative teams from the state board will support county officials, according to state officials.
Despite the tight race, Cooper declared victory early Wednesday. That declaration, though, didn't sit well with Republicans.
"Despite Roy Cooper's rude and grossly premature declaration of victory, under the laws of the state of North Carolina, this election is not over and will not be over for some considerable amount of time," state Republican Party Chairman Robin Hayes said. "There are outstanding provisional, mail and overseas ballots, not to mention serious concerns about the issues in Durham County."