Hand-to-eye recount to begin as Newby leads by 400 votes in race for N.C. Supreme Court Chief Justice
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - Republican Paul Newby leads Democrat Cheri Beasley by 401 votes out of nearly 5.4 million cast in the North Carolina Supreme Court Chief Justice race after a statewide machine recount.
Officials with the N.C. State Board of Elections say all 100 North Carolina counties completed that initial statewide recount. After that recount, the margin is now 401 votes, favoring Newby.
But on Wednesday night, Beasley requested a hand-to-eye recount in a random sample of precincts. State law permits a candidate to request a sample hand-to-eye recount within 24 hours after the initial recount.
Counties across North Carolina will begin the hand-to-eye recount early next week.
Beasley requested the initial recount in a letter to the State Board of Elections. When that recount was requested, the margin between the candidates stood at 406 votes, favoring Newby. Several counties subsequently recanvassed, at which point the margin was 416 votes, favoring Newby.
After that initial recount, the margin is now 401 votes, favoring Newby.
“The recount showed minor differences from canvassed vote totals, but did not change the outcome of the contest,” said Karen Brinson Bell, executive director of the State Board of Elections. “We appreciate the hard work of the county boards of elections throughout the recount process.”
Under state law, each of the 100 county boards of elections will conduct a hand-to-eye count of all ballots in 3% of its precincts, rounded up to the next whole number of precincts. Each one-stop early voting site is considered a precinct for the purposes of a recount.
At 2 p.m. Friday, the State Board will conduct a random drawing to select the precincts for each county. Members of the public may watch the drawing online here: https://bit.ly/3g89xlu.
Hand-to-eye recount schedules for each county will be posted here as they become available.
If the results of the sample hand-to-eye recount differ from the previous results within those precincts to the extent that extrapolating the amount of the change to the entire state (based on the proportion of ballots recounted to the total votes cast for that office) would reverse the results, then a statewide hand-to-eye recount of all ballots would be conducted.
The State Board office soon will release detailed written guidance to assist county boards of elections with adjudicating questions of voter intent to ensure uniformity throughout the state. It will also provide information about the four-person, bipartisan teams that the county boards must use for the hand-to-eye count.
Meanwhile, both Supreme Court candidates have filed a total of more than 100 election protests that are either scheduled for consideration by the county boards of elections or have already been heard at the county level and appealed to the State Board.
The State Board plans to hear the appeals once the county boards have completed the proceedings.
Here’s some information about each candidate.
Paul Newby has been serving on the North Carolina Supreme Court since 2004.
He served 19 years as an Assistant United States Attorney in Raleigh.
Newby is currently an adjunct professor at Campbell University School of Law.
Newby earned a law degree from UNC-Chapel Hill School of Law and actively participates in the North Carolina Bar Association.
According to his campaign website, Newby describes his judicial philosophy as believing in judicial restraint and supporting enforcement of the Constitution as enacted by the people, of statutes as intended by the General Assembly and of contracts as agreed to by the parties.
Cheri Beasley joined the North Carolina Supreme Court in 2012 and has been chief justice since 2019.
She served as an associate judge on North Carolina Court of Appeals from 2008-2012, and served as district court judge in North Carolina’s 12th Judicial District from 1999-2008.
Beasley has held leadership roles in the American Bar Association and the North Carolina Bar Association.
She earned law degrees from University of Tennessee College of Law and Duke University School of Law.
According to her campaign website, she lists priorities including using technology to modernize the court system, increasing access to recovery courts, building school justice partnerships. She also launched the Faith and Justice Alliance.
Only the Supreme Court contest was eligible for a statewide recount, so no other statewide contests will be recounted.
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