North Carolina is a critical battleground state in tonight’s presidential election.
With many swing states appearing extremely tight, the question of recounts and protests have arisen. When is a recount required, and what is the process? Each state has its own set of recount laws. Here is a look at the rules in North Carolina.
WHAT IS THE RECOUNT PROCEDURE?
Under North Carolina state law, there are both “discretionary recounts” and “mandatory recounts.”
In North Carolina, the County or State Board of Elections is permitted in its discretion, to order its own recount “when necessary to complete the canvass in an election,” if the recount hadn’t already been denied to another person requesting one. That would mean that North Carolina could decide independently to have a discretionary recount of tonight’s votes.
CAN A CANDIDATE REQUEST A RECOUNT?
Yes. North Carolina law mandates a recount at the request of a candidate in the event that the race is split by 1% or less of the votes cast. Other states require a narrower margin. In Florida for instance, the candidates need to be separated by a .5% margin.
The demand for a recount must be received in writing by the state board of elections by 5:00 p.m. on the day following the election.
HOW IS A RECOUNT CONDUCTED?
North Carolina uses Direct Recording Electronic Method in its voting systems and require a Voter Verified Paper Audit Trail when conducting elections.
All ballots originally counted by optical scan equipment are again counted by machine. Any ballots rejected by the machine are then counted by hand. If the apparent winner after the initial balloting is the apparent loser after the first machine recount, that candidate shall be entitled to demand a second recount by hand.
CAN A VOTER CHALLENGE THE RESULTS?
Any registered voter, including a candidate, may file a protest concerning the conduct of an election with the county board of elections. The protest must be in writing and state whether the protest concerns the manner in which the votes were counted or some other irregularity. It also must state the remedy the protestor is seeking.