If Governor's Race Results Contested, NC Lawmakers Could 'Potentially' Play Role In Outcome

Nov 15, 2016

The outcome of this year's governor's race in North Carolina remains up-in-the-air as provisional and absentee ballots continue to get counted.  Democrat Roy Cooper is now ahead of Republican incumbent Pat McCrory by just under 5,000 votes. 

But McCrory is suspicious of about 90,000 votes reported late from early voting in Durham County.  While Cooper has declared victory, McCrory has questioned the legitimacy of the vote ever since Election Night.

"There was a sudden emergence of over 90,000 votes that were not counted this morning, that were counted about 35 minutes ago," McCrory told supporters Election Night.

An attorney for the North Carolina Republican Party has filed a formal complaint with the Durham County board of elections, challenging the accuracy of the results and demanding a recount.

The uncertainty has brought attention to a little-known provision in North Carolina law.  It says that contested elections for top state offices and seats in the legislature will be decided by state lawmakers.   The procedure was used to settle a close 2004 race for state school superintendent.

Robert Joyce, with the UNC School of Government, is an elections law expert. He explained to WFAE's Mark Rumsey how the state law could enable the General Assembly to "potentially" decide the governor's race