One of the most tightly fought gubernatorial races in the U.S. still doesn’t have a clear winner.
On Tuesday, North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory officially filed for a statewide recount, after hinting that he would do so earlier this month.
“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 very legal vote is counted properly,” said Russell Peck, McCrory’s campaign manager, in a statement.
On Nov. 9, North Carolina Attorney General Roy Cooper (D) declared victory over McCrory, the embattled Republican incumbent who signed into law some of the most retrograde legislation in the country since his term began in 2013.
More than 60,000 provisional and absentee ballots have yet to be counted, with most of the provisional ballots cast in Democratic-leaning counties. Cooper won eight of the 10 counties with the most provisional ballots. McCrory was favored in the other two, as well in several other counties outside of those 10, according to The News & Observer.
Cooper is ahead by 6,600 votes as of Sunday, although a lawyer for the candidate suggests that number is closer to 8,000.
McCrory initially said the outcome of the race wouldn’t be clear until Nov. 18, once provisional and absentee ballots had been counted. McCrory has refused to concede, saying the race is too close to call.
If the race is within 10,000 votes once all of the state’s ballots are tallied, then McCrory or Cooper can ask for a recount ― a procedure that likely wouldn’t begin until after Thanksgiving.
McCrory’s campaign is concerned about early votes tallied in Durham County, a Democratic bastion that appears to have tossed the race to Cooper when 90,000 votes came in just before midnight on Election Day. When the votes were submitted late Tuesday night, McCrory dropped from a 60,000-vote lead to being 2,500 behind Cooper.
Votes in Durham County were hand-counted by county election officials after six data storage cards wouldn’t download election results. These ballots were from early voting, and since they had to be manually uploaded, the county and state boards opted to count them after Election Day results had been entered.
The North Carolina Republican Party has filed a formal complaint challenging the vote count in Durham County and asking that ballots be recounted by hand. The state GOP argues that the results were put in the state’s election system by officials operating with “bleary eyes and tired hands.”
The state GOP also filed protests for the tallies in half of the state’s 100 counties on Friday, alleging that McCrory is trailing due to fraud and technical difficulties.
This post has been updated throughout to include information on McCrory’s petition for a statewide recount, the latest vote tally and the protests filed in half of the state’s counties.