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NC State Board Of Elections Certifies Chief Justice Race After A Month of Recounts

Cheri Beasley and Paul Newby both ran for Chief Justice of the North Carolina Supreme Court this year.
Cheri Beasley and Paul Newby both ran for Chief Justice of the North Carolina Supreme Court this year.

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.

The North Carolina State Board of Elections certified the last statewide race of the 2020 election Friday. The board voted unanimously 5-0 to certify the results of the North Carolina Supreme Court Chief Justice race.

The race had just 401 votes separating the incumbent Chief Justice, Democrat Cheri Beasley, from Republican challenger Paul Newby, who is a senior associate justice on the court. Newby led the race for most of the post-election period.

State Board of Elections Chair Damon Circosta said North Carolinians should take note of the incredibly close margin in the race.

"We had five-and-a-half million votes in this state, and this contest was decided by less people than show up to your typical high school basketball game," Circosta said. "So moving forward, I don’t want to hear anybody ever say their vote doesn’t matter, because it certainly does."

Newby won the race after a machine recount showed little deviation from the initial vote tally. Beasley requested a hand-to-eye recount of a random sample of ballots in each county. She conceded the race on Dec. 12, after that hand recount showed the vote tally wouldn’t change enough to overcome Newby’s margin of victory.

The state board previously certified most of the state’s other races in late November.

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