RALEIGH — A statewide recount of more than five million ballots cast in North Carolina’s Supreme Court chief justice contest will begin later this week.
The recount likely will take several days in some counties, and county boards of elections must complete their recounts by Wednesday, Nov. 25. It is North Carolina’s first statewide recount since the 2016 state auditor’s race, which confirmed the results in that contest.
Democrat Cheri Beasley requested the recount in a letter to the State Board of Elections on Tuesday. Beasley trails Republican Paul Newby by fewer than 400 votes out of nearly 5.4 million cast in the race for the state’s highest court. That puts the race within the 10,000-vote threshold for the trailing candidate to demand a recount.
“We cannot express enough gratitude for the hard work of our county boards of elections, who continue to ensure accurate and fair results in this election,” said Karen Brinson Bell, executive director of the State Board of Elections. “Recounts are an important part of the elections process that help guarantee voters’ wishes are realized in the closest of contests.”
On Monday night, the State Board of Elections issued guidance to the county boards of elections on the recount process. See Numbered Memo 2020-31 for details on recount procedures.
County boards of elections may begin recounting ballots on Thursday or sooner if they meet the 48-hour public notice requirement. All 100 county boards of elections will conduct recounts of their ballots by running them through tabulators. The counties are responsible for recount costs. Counties with recounts for local contests may conduct them at the same time.
Candidates, the media and the general public may attend the recount meetings, subject to space limitations and social distancing requirements. However, use of video or still cameras by the public inside the recount room while the recount is in progress is not permitted because of the statutory prohibition on photographing or videotaping individual ballots.
Media representatives will be permitted to take videos and still photographs before or after the recount, if they do not record images of ballots.
County boards of elections may broadcast live video feeds of the recounts. For a recount schedule by county, go here: https://www.ncsbe.gov/2020-statewide-recount-meetings. This webpage will be updated as counties finalize their recount schedules.