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Mecklenburg County Finishes Hand Recount In Chief Justice Race

Mecklenburg County Board of Elections during a November meeting to certify the 2020 election results.
Coleen Harry
Mecklenburg County Board of Elections during a November meeting to certify the 2020 election results.

This article is made possible through a partnership between WFAE and Votebeat, a nonpartisan reporting project covering local election integrity and voting access. This article is available for reprint under the terms of our republishing policy.

Mecklenburg County’s Board of Elections completed its hand-to-eye recount in the North Carolina Supreme Court Chief Justice race Wednesday. Teams of elections staff and bipartisan observers reviewed about 2,100 ballots as part of a random sampling of 3% of the county’s voting precincts.

Wednesday's hand recount did not change the county’s vote tallies for the race.

County Elections Director Michael Dickerson said the teams examined the paper records the county’s new ExpressVote machines print out for each in-person vote. Dickerson said recounts in past races have shown only small changes in the vote tallies for candidates.

"After we had all just done a series of recounts for the entire state, I would be amazed if it was more than one or two votes in a county," Dickerson said.

County boards across North Carolina must complete their recounts by Dec. 14. The State Board of Elections will then calculate if the change in the vote tally for these selected precincts would be enough to overturn the margin of the race if all precincts had the same change. If so, it will order a hand-to-eye recount for all ballots.

Incumbent Democrat Cheri Beasley requested the recount after a machine recount showed her 401 votes behind Republican challenger Paul Newby. M

Meanwhile, the State Board of Elections has to hear candidate protests on Dec. 18 before it can certify the race’s result.

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Michael Falero is a radio reporter, currently covering voting and the 2020 election. He previously covered environment and energy for WFAE. Before joining WFAE in 2019, Michael worked as a producer for a number of local news podcasts based in Charlotte and Boston. He's a graduate of the Transom Story Workshop intensive on Cape Cod and UNC Chapel Hill.