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Political Notebook: NC Supreme Court ballots will be recounted again in Faith, South Ward precincts

RALEIGH — All 100 county boards of elections will begin this week a hand-to-eye recount in the North Carolina Supreme Court Chief Justice race following a request from Democrat incumbent Cheri Beasley.

A statewide recount concluded Wednesday, with Beasley trailing Republican challenger Paul Newby by 401 votes after nearly 4.4 million votes cast. She then requested the sample hand-to-eye recount, which state law permits as long as it’s requested within 24 hours of the initial recount. State law also allows the candidate to request the hand-to-eye recount if the initial recount doesn’t change the results of the election.

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.

The State Board of Elections website includes a schedule of each county’s recount. While no date or time has been determined for Rowan County, the recount will occur for ballots cast in Faith (precinct 10) and South Ward (precinct 36).

The two-day initial recount in Rowan County concluded on Nov. 20, with six fewer votes for Beasley and five fewer votes for Newby. The recount resulted in 47,448 votes total for Newby and 24,340 votes total for Beasley.

“The county boards of elections have worked tirelessly throughout the recount process,” said Karen Brinson Bell, executive director of the State Board of Elections. “We cannot thank them enough for continuing to ensure voters’ voices are heard and that the results are accurate.”

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 would reverse the results, then a statewide hand-to-eye recount of all ballots would be conducted.

Like the initial recount, county boards of elections must use four-person, bipartisan teams for the hand-to-eye count.

In a statement on its website, North Carolina Republican Party Chairman Michael Whatley said the request for a second recount only delays the certification of the race, and called upon Beasley to “gracefully concede.”

The North Carolina Democratic Party currently has no statement regarding the recount on its website.

 

Rep. Budd helps secure COVID-19 funding for restaurants, hotels

ADVANCE — U.S. Rep. Ted Budd, a Republican who represents North Carolina’s 13th Congressional District, announced on Wednesday that he helped secure a $172,115 grant to assist the North Carolina Restaurant and Lodging Association amid the impact of the pandemic.

The grant comes from the Economic Development Administration and provides technical assistance for hospitality businesses across the state that have been impacted by the pandemic.

Budd sent a letter to the EDA in July requesting the funding. The federal CARES Act, signed into law in March, included $1.5 billion for economic development assistance programs.

In the grant description, the assistance will provide support for restaurants struggling to navigate changing supply chains, web and marketing support and the identification of loans and challenges facing companies looking to reopen.

 

Gov. Cooper selected as vice chair of Democratic Governors Association and chair-elect for 2021, chair for 2022

RALEIGH — Following a vote on Thursday by the Democratic Governors Association, governors elected Gov. Roy Cooper to serve as the vice chair and chair-elect for 2021, as well as chair for 2022.

Democratic governors elected New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham to serve as the new chair for 2021. Outgoing chair Phil Murphy, governor of New Jersey, will serve as the association’s finance chair.

In a statement, Cooper said he was honored to take on the role.

“This past year has reminded the nation of the critical role that Democratic governors play in keeping our nation safe and building a brighter future for all,” Cooper said. “Throughout my time in office, I have worked tirelessly to expand health care access, invest in public education and create economic opportunity across North Carolina. I am grateful for the support of the DGA in my re-election bid to give me the ability to continue this work for the next four years and look forward to working with Gov. Lujan Grisham to build on this record of success.”

Also in the statement, Murphy said the association was successful in a record level of fundraising and in ensuring all incumbents were re-elected.

“Our strong roster of Democratic governors in swing states paved the way for President-elect Biden’s historic win and ensured a fair and complete count in the key states of Wisconsin, Michigan, Nevada and Pennsylvania,” Murphy said. “I look forward to working with Gov. Lujan Grisham and Gov. Cooper to help the DGA extend our success into the 2021 and 2022 cycles.”

Cooper made history in 2016 when he became the first challenger since 1850 to defeat a sitting North Carolina governor. Before his gubernatorial run, Cooper served in both the North Carolina House and state Senate before serving 16 years as the state’s attorney general.

Currently, 24 states in the continental U.S. have Democratic governors in addition to American Samoa, U.S. Virgin Islands and Guam. Puerto Rico’s current governor is part of the New Progressive Party.

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