As of today, several of the political races in NC are still undecided, including the governor’s race. Currently, Democratic Attorney General Roy Cooper leads Republican Governor Pat McCrory by 4,862 votes out of more than 4.6 million cast. The state auditor’s race is also close with Democratic incumbent Beth Wood leading Republican challenger Chuck Stuber by less than 3,000 votes. In Wake County, incumbent Republican Senator Tamara Barringer has about a 1,000 vote lead over her opponent and Republican Representatives Gary Pendleton and Marilyn Avila trail their challengers by about 800 and 300 votes, respectively. In the Attorney General Race, Democrat Josh Stein has a 20,000 vote lead over Republican Buck Newton. And incumbent Insurance Commissioner Wayne Goodwin trails his challenger Republican Mike Causey by 38,000 votes. None of the trailing candidates have conceded.
The final vote canvass is Friday, November 18. This is when the county Boards of Elections will have the final vote totals for absentee and provisional ballots. Absentee ballots postmarked on or before Election Day are included, as are military and overseas ballots received by Thursday, November 17. Also, elections officials must assess the more than 60,000 provisional ballots to determine if they will be accepted or rejected by county boards of elections by this Friday. Provisional ballots are used when precinct officials cannot immediately verify that a voter is registered to vote there. The voter fills out a ballot, which is then sealed with an explanation written on the outside to justify why the vote should be counted. For example, a voter might have moved recently without updating his or her address. Legally, anyone who shows up to the polls must be given an opportunity to cast a provisional ballot. Historically, a substantial number of provisional ballots have been rejected as ineligible.
After these numbers are verified, a recount could be requested. In order to request a recount, the trailing candidate in a Council of State race must be losing by less than 10,000 votes. The State Board of Elections has yet to set a schedule for any recount process. The Board is scheduled to meet November 29 to certify all election results.
Protests have been filed by various entities in at least twelve counties alleging irregularities involving conduct of the election day process, including machine malfunctions, ballot tabulation, handling of absentee ballots and other aspects. Durham County has already held a preliminarily hearing on Wednesday morning regarding a complaint demanding a recount of more than 94,000 ballots. The board ordered an evidentiary hearing be held Friday. In Bladen County, McCrae Dowless, the elected candidate for soil and water district supervisor, filed the protest alleging that a handful of people may have improperly submitted hundreds of absentee ballots. Prior to the election, the Bladen County Board of Elections began investigating the matter after a large number of write-in candidates for soil and water district supervisor were noticed. A forensic document examiner has found indications that at least 167 mail-in absentee ballots cast were written by seven people.
NC Inaugural Ball
The 2017 North Carolina Governor’s Inaugural Ball, hosted by the Junior League of Raleigh, will take place January 5-7 in Raleigh. The Inaugural Ball honors the newly elected governor and Council of State members with a series of events, including the Friday Luncheon, Council of State Reception, Rock the Ball concert, Governor’s Receptions, Gala Presentation and Inaugural Ball. There is a variety of sponsorship levels ranging from $100,000 to $600.
Please let us know if you are interested in sponsoring this event and we will help you coordinate through the Junior League of Raleigh. Intention to support the event must be submitted by December 15, 2016. Feel free to contact us if you have any questions.