Beasley Requests Hand-To-Eye Recount In Close Chief Justice Race
North Carolina’s race for Supreme Court Chief Justice is now heading for a hand recount. Democratic incumbent Cheri Beasley requested the recount hours after all 100 counties in North Carolina finished a machine recount Wednesday night.
That machine recount put Republican challenger Paul Newby 401 votes ahead of Beasley. As the second place candidate, North Carolina law gives Beasley the right to request the hand-to-eye recount within 24 hours of that recount being completed.
Election workers in every county will now count 3% of their precincts. Those precincts will be randomly chosen by the North Carolina State Board of Elections on Friday at 2 p.m.
Former executive director of the State Board of Elections Gary Bartlett said that means teams of four people that include representatives from both parties will look at each ballot.
"What they will be looking for is something that a machine cannot do. And that is, we are a voter intent state," Bartlett said. "If you can determine the voter’s intent, then you count the ballot."
Bartlett said this process can change the vote count, since machines cannot read voter marks located outside the normal scanning area.
Once finished, election workers will look at how much the vote tallies changed in these selected precincts and extrapolate that change to all the precincts in the state, to calculate if the change in votes would be larger than the current 401-vote margin. If so, the North Carolina State Board of Elections could order a full hand-to-eye recount. Bartlett said he had never seen a hand-to-eye recount change the leader in a statewide race, but this year’s chief justice race is closer than many previous statewide races that had recounts.
Meanwhile, both candidates have filed a total of more than 100 protests in counties around the state, bringing into question the eligibility of certain votes that were or weren’t counted. The result of the race can’t be certified until county boards and the state board hold hearings for those protests, and after the state board decides any remedies it needs to take.