What You Need to Know About NC Board of Elections Recount Order

In a high-stakes meeting held on November 30th in Raleigh, the North Carolina State Board of Elections voted 3-2 to have a partial recount of votes in Durham.  The vote overturns Durham’s earlier decision rejecting Governor McCrory’s recount request for the district. The #CarolinaChaos continues.

Durham County Board of Elections members confer over a short recess. William J. Brian, Jr. Durham Board Chairman (REP) (center)
Durham County Board of Elections members confer over a short recess. William J. Brian, Jr. Durham Co. Board Chair (REP) (center) Photo By: American Lens News

The State Board ordered the partial recount of several precincts in Durham, including precinct 29 where 94,000 ballots suddenly showed up just before midnight on election night.

The 3-2 vote was along party lines, with the two Democrats, Kricker and Malcolm, voting against.

Durham’s Election Board chair estimated that the recount would take at least a week.

Several counties have yet to report their vote counts, however Roy Cooper is in the lead. The current incomplete vote total has him passing the 10,000 vote threshold required by law for a statewide recount.

The Cooper campaign issued a statement on Facebook:

“Roy Cooper’s lead has now grown to over 10,000 votes. Game over. It’s time for Governor McCrory to concede. It’s clear there is no path to victory for Governor McCrory. It’s time for Governor McCrory to accept the election results and respect the will of the voters,” said Cooper for NC Campaign Manager Trey Nix.

Aside from the taunting statement from the Cooper campaign, the State Board of Elections meeting was rather tense at times.

There was a few moments of tense exchanges between attorney Thomas Stark and Election Board member Joshua Malcolm. At times, Malcolm would not let Mr. Stark finish his sentence before interrupting with the next question. At one point Malcolm interrupted sarcastically insinuating that Stark was asking for millions of dollars from the General Assembly to buy new voting machines.

Stark, who filed the original election protest in Durham County, and who is an attorney affiliated with the NC GOP, pressed the Board on the recount, calling it “perfunctory.”

Joshua Malcolm - Recount - Durham
NC BOE Democratic Member, Joshua Malcolm, during the hearing. Mr. Malcolm and Attorney Thomas Stark had a contentious exchange at one point. Image Credit: American Lens

Stark said that, “It’s the duty of the board of elections to properly tabulate, and if there’s reasonable suspicion we’re here on a protest.”

Malcolm, one of the two Democrats on the board, appeared to oppose the idea of a recount in Durham all meeting long and at one point tried to debate the definition of ‘irregularity’ with other board members.

“I think it’s a travesty that we’re going to interpret what happened in Durham County as an irregularity,” stated Malcolm.

State Board Member Rhonda Amoroso, a Republican, intervened near the end of the meeting and said that there was a “taint” on the Durham results, stating that, “the case has been made to order a recount.”

Kevin Hamilton
Perkins Coie Attorney for Cooper, Kevin Hamilton (center), listens as NC Elections Board members discuss a recount of votes in Durham County. Image Credit: American Lens

Mr. Cooper’s attorney, Kevin Hamilton, argued strongly against the recount. Hamilton, a Seattle based lawyer, presented his case to the board. Unlike Stark, Hamilton was permitted to argue his points with virtually no interference. He pleaded for the Board to deny Stark’s appeal.

“Mere suspicion … is not enough. Uncertainty is not enough.” Hamilton said.

Backstory on Hamilton:

Hamilton is a senior partner alongside Marc Elias at Perkins Coie. The Perkins Coie firm has made headlines recently for representing Hillary Clinton in the state of Wisconsin’s recount.

But, perhaps more importantly, Elias has been hired by progressive billionaire George Soros with a multi-million dollar commitment to challenge Voter ID laws in several states, including North Carolina.

Elias also represented plaintiffs that sued the state and forced the nations first-ever cancellation of a primary, weeks after votes had already been cast. The case, known as Harris v McCrory, forced the legislature to re-draw maps and hold a second primary. That case is still pending review by the Supreme Court.


“Elias also represents three plaintiffs that sued the state and forced the nations first-ever historical cancellation of a primary, weeks after votes had been cast.”


According to the New York Times, Michael Vachon, the personal political advisor to George Soros, was approached by Marc Elias and Perkins Coie to litigate the voter ID case in North Carolina.

Vachon is no stranger to strong-arm progressive politics. He is a leading member of the Democracy Alliance, an organization that made headlines in 2008 when they created Blueprint Colorado, a plan which flipped the state of Colorado from Republican leadership into a majority Democratic state in just 48 months.

While it is not publicly connected with the case, a similarly named organization ‘Blueprint North Carolina’ was called into question when a leaked memo called for its members to “Cripple, Mitigate, Eviscerate, Litigate, and Cogitate” Governor McCrory after his monumental win in November 2012.

If Blueprint NC wants to take credit, Democrats have absolutely met the goal of “litigate” from its memo.

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