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North Carolina’s 100 counties are finishing their recount of the state Supreme Court chief justice race Monday. Democratic incumbent Chief Justice Cheri Beasley requested the recount after fewer than 500 votes separated her and Republican Paul Newby. The recount was supposed to be completed last Wednesday, Nov. 25. The State Board of Elections said then that three counties—Mecklenburg, Forsyth, and Guilford—needed more time to finish their recount because of the large number of votes in those counties.
Mecklenburg County Elections Director Michael Dickerson said his office had to recount more than 565,000 ballots in a matter of days. That included absentee-by-mail ballots and ballots from early voting sites, which his office was legally allowed to start counting before Election Day (however, machines did not produce a result from these ballots until Nov. 3).
“What you ended up doing was putting all [this] vote counting in the hands of a particular group of people here at the board of elections,” Dickerson said. “And it’s just going to be a time-consuming process.”
Dickerson said at least 50 elections workers were counting Mecklenburg County’s ballots, all while following social distancing protocols. He also said the Mecklenburg County Board of Elections members were likely to certify the results Monday night and upload them to the state board’s election results website. He said both Beasley and Newby’s vote totals changed by fewer than 10 votes.
Once the state board completes the recount, the second-place candidate can request a hand-to-eye recount of a small but random sample of ballots in each county.