NCGOP attorney demands recount after Durham voting machine error

Posted November 12, 2016

— 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."


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  • Jim Frei Nov 15, 2016
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    Give it up, Pat. Do you really think Durham County voted for you?

  • Linda Tally Nov 15, 2016
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    So do a recount - the result will still show Cooper the winner.

  • Nicolle Leney Nov 14, 2016
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    View quoted thread

    Yeah, just like they're trying to, in a way, rig the NC Supreme court results by adding two more justices that McCrory will appoint. They didn't get their way, so they want to completely ignore the will of the voters and tip the balance back to Republican. (http://www.wral.com/post-election-buzz-gop-leadership-wants-2-more-state-supreme-court-justices/16224129/)

  • Holly Atkins Nov 14, 2016
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    "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.

    So basically if the ballot boxes were rigged they would have favored McCrook. But they don't favor him so he wants to pitch a whiny fit that he lost? *sigh*

    Time for Cooper to bring this state some respect and inclusiveness and it can't come fast enough. HB2 is a NIGHTMARE!!

  • Jimmy Jones Nov 13, 2016
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    We need an investigation into these 8 voting precincts. Why does Durham have these issues every election....."Fraud". I think an investigation will show fraud. Prosecute these people and I bet there won't be any more problems with their "machines".

  • Billy Smith Nov 13, 2016
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    The new Federal Government lead by President Trump and a Republican Senate and House of Representatives as well as a full Supreme Court will sort this out.

  • Alan Womack Nov 13, 2016
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    The crybaby remains strong in all things GOP. Republicans won all up and down the ballot, except McCrory. If McCrory had earned more votes in all of the areas where every other republican won my major percentages, and he didn't, then things might have turned out better for him. None of the OTHER candidates had issues with their totals when the Durham votes were counted. By McCrybaby will always BE McCrybaby, and hims don't wike the way him wost hims ewection. Cry us a river, just don't let any of Dukes coal ash get into it.

  • Randy Smith Nov 13, 2016
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    Come on people. Can you honestly tell me that if Cooper was behind by 5,000 votes when he had been ahead most of the night, that he wouldn't ask for a recount? Be real. He would, and he should. I'm getting very tired of this double standard. Let the process work.

  • Norman Lewis Nov 13, 2016
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    You can be absolutely sure that if Gov. McCrory had a 5000 vote lead and we were STILL waiting on the count of approximately 40,000 provisional ballots and this issue with faulty voting machines had popped up, that the Democrats would be howling for a recount. Folks, all the votes are not in yet, the election is not over and no winner has been declared. All votes need to be counted. To think the election hinges on 1/10th of 1% of the votes cast.

  • Billy Smith Nov 13, 2016
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    Why hasn't Gov elect Cooper said anything about his platforms or his programs. Who in state govt will lose their jobs and who will replace them. Has the dog finally caught the car?