Black leads by only seven votes over challenger Hal Jordan, with a recount likely. But it's now Black's job to lose, as the dispute could drag into 2007.
Final Outcome In Black's House Race Could Come In 2007
When Mecklenburg County elections officials discovered 446 ineligible ballots, the revelation guaranteed a delayed outcome in the legislative race. The state Board Of Elections appears to have three options to use in deciding the election's final result.
The first two scenarios favor Black. In one, the board could disregard the voting irregularities because they don't change the outcome of the contest. Two, officials could allow just eligible voters in the questioned precinct to vote again.
However, Republicans leaders are arguing for a third option -- holding a whole new House District 100 election. If the state board opts for the latter, the law dictates at least 75 days to organize and allow early voting. That would push the new Election Day to mid-February at the earliest.
The 2007 legislative session starts in late January. By law, the incumbent Jim Black, could keep his seat until the matter is finally resolved.
The state board is scheduled to rule on what to do about the race on Nov. 28. While Black can keep his legislative seat during the dispute, there's no guarantee that he will retain the speaker's chair. His fellow lawmakers make that decision.