North Carolina Supreme Court recount extended into next week

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FILE – In this Jan. 2, 2013 file photo, the Honorable Paul Newby addresses those in attendance before Susan Martin (R-Wilson) takes the oath of office for the North Carolina House of Representatives, in Wilson, N.C. Candidates in North Carolina’s yet-decided races for Supreme Court chief justice and attorney general awaited final official results on Monday, Nov. 16, 2020, from several counties, two of which had to adjust previous tallies due to administrative errors. Current Chief Justice Cheri Beasley and challenger Newby, the senior associate justice, remained in an extremely close election. A statewide recount in the race was likely as hundreds of votes separated the two from nearly 5.4 million counted. (Brad Coville/The Wilson Times via AP, File)

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — It will take a little longer for a winner to be named in North Carolina’s state Supreme Court chief justice race, the State Board of Elections announced on Wednesday.

According to the board, three large counties, Forsyth, Guilford and Mecklenburg, are unable to complete their recounts as anticipated by the end of Wednesday. As a result, they will resume recounts on Monday for the top judicial seat in the state.

With 91 of the state’s 100 counties done recounting ballots, Republican Paul Newby led Democrat Cheri Beasley by more than 400 votes. The small margin is the product of nearly 5.4 million ballots cast in the race.

The board will announce final results once all counties have completed their recounts. The candidate losing in the contest then has 24 hours to demand a hand recount in a random sample of 3% of precincts in each county. If certain conditions are met, a statewide hand recount of all ballots could be conducted.

Newby and Beasley have lodged election protests that the board is expected to hear at a future date.

The close contest has seen several shifts: Newby led on election night, Beasley later surpassed him, then Newby regained the lead again.

The state elections board voted on Tuesday to certify results from the Nov. 3 election. The ongoing battle for chief justice is the only statewide contest yet to be decided.

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