Gov. McCrory officially files for statewide recount in race against Roy Cooper

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP/WNCN) — The Latest on efforts to count the ballots in North Carolina’s gubernatorial contest (all times local):

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1:50 p.m.

Attorney General Roy Cooper’s campaign responded to the McCrory campaign’s request for a recount.

“This is nothing but a last-ditch effort from Governor McCrory to delay and deny the results of this election. Roy Cooper leads by 8,569 votes – a number that is growing daily as counties finalize election results. We are confident that a recount will do nothing to change the fact that Roy Cooper has won this election,” said Cooper for North Carolina campaign manager Rey Nix.

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1:30 p.m.

Gov. Pat McCrory has filed for a statewide recount in his race against North Carolina Attorney General Roy Cooper, his campaign announced Tuesday afternoon.

McCrory joins Chuck Stuber, a Republican candidate for state auditor, in officially filing for a statewide recount.

This recount was filed to meet the original date specified by the state statute, the campaign said. The formal recount won’t 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, Pat McCrory’s campaign manager.

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11:10 a.m.

A conservative group has filed a lawsuit saying North Carolina can’t finish tallying its close governor’s race until it verifies the residency of thousands of voters who used same-day registration.

The head of the Civitas Institute is asking a federal court to require that the state Board of Elections refrain from certifying election results until it has completed verification of same-day registrants.

North Carolina law allows people to register and cast a ballot on the same day during the early voting period by offering proof of their address.

The lawsuit says North Carolina law requires election officials to check the residency of same-day registrants by sending them mail and seeing if it comes back returned. Since state elections board guidelines indicate that 30 days should be allowed for the mailing process, the lawsuit says the overall tallying of votes can’t be finished before Dec. 7.

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11 a.m.

Calls for Gov. Pat McCrory to concede are getting louder as Attorney General Roy Cooper’s lead grows in the North Carolina governor’s race.

Gov. McCrory has said he’s not backing down and is claiming voter fraud across the state.

The State Board of Elections is holding another hearing today, which began at 10 a.m., to discuss how to handle election complaints that have been filed with more than 50 county boards of elections.

County boards of elections across the state have asked the N.C. Board of Elections to provide legal guidance on how to handle the allegations of deceased voters, voters who are felons, and people who may have voted in two states.

Petitions filed in Wake, Durham, Orange, Mecklenburg, Cumberland, Halifax, Forsyth, and Lee counties have all been thrown out.

Supporters of Cooper gathered outside the meeting before it started.

Supporters said that even with the votes that are being questioned, Cooper’s lead would still be enough to defeat McCrory.

Attorneys from both McCrory and Cooper’s campaigns were slated to argue in the hearing.

The governor’s attorney spoke first in the hearing.

“We don’t know the final results and the count of the absentee ballots and so this inquiry should continue and this process should play out,” said attorney Roger Knight.

Logan Smith with Progress North Carolina Action also spoke in the hearing and said it appeared that McCrory is filing “frivolous complaints.”

“If Gov. McCrory is still filing frivolous complaints and making baseless accusations about some sort of criminal malfeasance when there doesn’t exist one, then we’re going to have a lot of problems in our state government come the new year,” he said.

Cooper’s attorneys are making the argument that the protests will not change the outcome of the governor’s race. Many counties are waiting to hear the guidance of the State Board of Elections today.

Political experts have said this fight may be far from over and it may ultimately be decided in the courts.

“This is a very laborious process, it’s a voter-by-voter consideration, looking at each vote to say whether it’s valid or not. If the courts get involved, they could reverse some of the decisions some of the counties have made so we could be looking at weeks, maybe more, of this,” said Meredith College political science professor David McLennan.

A handful of Democratic leaders held news conferences Monday calling on Gov. McCrory to concede.

“By any definition, Roy Cooper has won this election and in American politics anytime you lose an election, the custom is that you concede defeat,” said Rep. G.K. Butterfield (D-N.C.).

Cooper also appears to be moving forward as he has already announced his transition team.

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10:40 a.m.

About two dozen protesters stood outside the entrance of a building hosting the latest State Board of Elections hearing on contested ballots in the North Carolina’s governor’s race.

The hearing started promptly at 10 a.m. Tuesday. Although the board said it would not hear comments from the public during Tuesday’s meeting, the conference room was filled with spectators listening to the early testimony.

Roger Knight, an attorney for Republican Gov. Pat McCrory, opened the hearing by presenting recent examples of voter irregularities that could apply in his race with Democratic challenger Roy Cooper.

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5 a.m.

North Carolina election officials still working on final vote tallies for governor two weeks after Election Day are getting some advice on whether certain ballots should be counted or thrown out.

The State Board of Elections scheduled a meeting Tuesday to hear from the state Democratic and Republican parties and their gubernatorial candidate campaigns.

The board wants to provide legal guidance to county election boards hearing formal complaints about early votes by people who died before Election Day or may have voted in multiple states. Also at issue are more than 300 ballots that state officials say may have been cast by convicted felons across the state during early voting.

The questions are important as Democrat Roy Cooper still holds a narrow lead over Republican Gov. Pat McCrory.

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