North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory has filed for a recount in the close race against Democratic opponent, Roy Cooper, for North Carolina governor.
As of Tuesday afternoon, McCrory was trailing Cooper by about 6,500 votes, though many counties are still tallying results and the race has not been called.
Per state law, if the final tally has the candidates within 10,000 votes of each other, the losing candidate has a right to demand a recount. The McCrory campaign says it preemptively filed for a recount to ensure it would not miss a state deadline. The formal recount will not occur until after the county boards of election certify their results.
"With many outstanding votes yet to be counted for the first time, legal challenges, ballot protests and voter fraud allegations, we must keep open the ability to allow the established recount process to ensure every legal vote is counted properly," said Russell Peck, McCrory's campaign manager.
Over the last two weeks, the McCrory campaign has filed dozens of formal protests alleging voter fraud in 52 counties, claiming "malfeasance" in Durham County and "irregularities" in other areas of the state. Democrats have largely dismissed those charges, calling them "desperate." In previous court cases, several federal judges have ruled there is little to no evidence of voter fraud in North Carolina.
In a statement released Tuesday, Kimberly Reynolds, executive director of the state's Democratic Party, again called McCrory "desperate" for requesting a recount.
"This is another desperate attempt from the McCrory campaign to undermine the results of an election they lost," she said, "Make no mistake, Governor-Elect Roy Cooper won this race, and we look forward to working with his administration to build a better North Carolina."
Cooper's campaign manager, Trey Nix, also released a dismissive statement.
"This is nothing but a last-ditch effort from Governor McCrory to delay and deny the results of this election," he said, "We are confident that a recount will do nothing to change the fact that Roy Cooper has won this election."
Reynolds, Nix, and many other Democrats have declared Cooper the winner and have called on McCrory to concede, though final election results remain unknown. Cooper himself has begun assembling a transition team, and has launched a website for people interested in working for his administration, prompting Republicans to accuse him of circumventing the electoral process.
"At this point, Roy Cooper is unfairly and incorrectly trying to create the perception through intimidation and other practices that he is the governor," Robin Hayes, chairman of the state GOP, said in an interview with WFAE, "He is not the governor... until we can verify, with complete accuracy, that the election was handled properly."
That may not happen for another month due to various legal challenges, including a lawsuit from the Civitas Institute, a conservative think thank, requesting the State Board of Elections verify the residency of anyone who used same-day voter registration during early voting. The lawsuit says election officials are required by law to check the residency of same-day registrants by sending them mail and seeing if it comes back undeliverable.
State guidelines indicate the mailing process should be allowed 30 days. Therefore, the lawsuit says, the overall tallying of votes can't be finished before December 7.