Local Politics

Recount requested as gap in Etheridge-Ellmers race tightens

Posted November 12, 2010 5:48 a.m. EST
Updated November 12, 2010 6:13 p.m. EST

— Congressman Bob Etheridge on Friday reiterated his call for a recount in the tight Second Congressional District race after picking up about 150 votes from provisional and absentee ballots to narrow the gap with Republican Renee Ellmers.

County elections boards across North Carolina on Friday certified their results from the Nov. 2 elections after counting absentee ballots and determining the legitimacy of provisional ballots, which are cast when poll workers can't determine if a voter is registered.

According to the State Board of Elections, Ellmers received 93,893 votes in the Second Congressional District race to Etheridge's 92,404. This district covers 10 counties, primarily on the east and southern edges of the Triangle.

The 1,489-vote gap is smaller than the 1,646 votes that separated the two for the past week.

Since 189,801 votes were cast in the race, the county-certified results are within the 1 percent threshold outlined under state law for Etheridge to seek a recount.

"Unless voters are assured that the results of the election are accurate, then they’ll never be sure that the people’s voice was heard or that the result is valid," he said in a statement. "As more votes were counted over the last week, it became increasingly clear that this race is too close to call and a recount is warranted.”

Ellmers said, however, that Etheridge should realize he can't make up the votes and shouldn't ask for a recount.

"We have not found anywhere in North Carolina history that a lead this large has ever been overturned as a result of a recount," she said in a statement.

Ellmers was in Baltimore on Friday to attend a workshop sponsored by a conservative group for new members of Congress.

"We are pleased that the canvass has produced the result we were confident all along that it would," she said.

Candidates have until Tuesday to formally request a recount. Then, election officials in each affected county would run their ballots through the voting machines again.

State elections officials said there is no additional cost for the recount, although candidates might pay for observers to monitor the process.

In Fayetteville, Republican Jackie Warner has requested a recount in the District 45 race in the state House, where she trails Democratic Rep. Rick Glazier by 48 votes out of almost 20,000 votes cast.

In the House District 44 race, also in Cumberland County, Democrat Diane Parfitt leads Republican Johnny Dawkins by 109 votes out of about 16,300 votes cast. No recount had been requested as of Friday evening.

The State Board of Elections has until Nov. 23 to announce certified, final results.