Cooper's lead grows to nearly 10,000 votes in governor's race

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RALEIGH, NC (WITN) - Roy Cooper's lead in that tight gubernatorial race grew Monday afternoon to 9,716 votes.

Several more counties finalized their vote totals today, including Pat McCrory's home of Mecklenburg County where the governor lost by nearly a two-to-one margin.

Thirteen counties still need to canvass their votes. Included in that list are Craven and Lenoir counties here in Eastern Carolina.

McCrory last week asked for a recount after election day results showed him losing by 4,879 votes.

The State Board of Elections is expected to take up later this week a Republican attorney's demand for a manual recount of Durham County ballots that could affect the race outcome.

Under state law, a candidate behind by under 10,000 votes can ask for a recount.

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North Carolina's election board could formally consider later this week a Republican attorney's demand for a manual recount of Durham County ballots that could affect the yet-resolved race for governor.

The State Board of Elections met Sunday by phone to discuss a request filed by the lawyer this weekend to accelerate the appeal of a decision by the Durham County elections board earlier this month rejecting the recount request. The Durham board decided there was no evidence the tally of 94,000 ballots was wrong.

State board members Sunday wanted more documents from Durham's board before taking up the appeal.

Unofficial results show GOP Gov. Pat McCrory trailing Democratic challenger Roy Cooper by 7,700 votes from 4.7 million cast, but some counties haven't finished their counting or have other appeals pending.

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Republicans have formally asked state officials for closer scrutiny of thousands of Durham County ballots in the close governor's contest.

Gov. Pat McCrory's campaign announced Saturday that GOP lawyer Thomas Stark asked the State Board of Elections to require a recount because of questions about 90,000 or so Durham County ballots. His appeal says there are questions about how those ballots were tallied because of a computer problem at several voting sites.

Durham County's Republican-controlled local elections board already rejected a protest over those ballots.

Stark also asks the state to consider issues related to provisional ballots and people who voted through same-day registration in the heavily Democratic county.

The McCrory campaign says if Durham County has a recount and its results are the same, the campaign will be prepared to drop its statewide recount request.

Campaign manager Russell Peck says in a news release that a Durham recount would allow everyone to "move towards a conclusion of this process."

Democrat Roy Cooper leads McCrory by about 7,700 votes, according to unofficial statewide results. About 20 counties have yet to finish counting votes.

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Voting-rights advocates have joined the legal wrangling over the counting of votes in North Carolina's close governor's contest.

Lawyers from Southern Coalition for Social Justice asked a federal judge late Wednesday to reject a lawsuit questioning the verification of voters who used same-day registration to cast ballots. The filing was done by some of the same lawyers and advocates who successfully sued to overturn parts of a wide-ranging elections law enacted by Republicans in the General Assembly.

They're opposing a lawsuit filed this week by the conservative Civitas Institute. Civitas says the state cannot finish counting votes until it verifies addresses of voters who used same-day registration. A hearing is scheduled next week.

Unofficial statewide results show Democrat Roy Cooper leading Republican Gov. Pat McCrory by about 7,700 votes.

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Attorney General Roy Cooper maintains his lead in the tight race for governor as more counties today report final totals.

At 5:00 p.m. Wednesday, the state says Cooper leads Governor Pat McCrory by 7,716 votes. That number has risen from election night, which showed Cooper leading by just 4879.

There are 19 counties left to report final canvass returns from the November 8th election. Those include Carteret, Craven and Lenoir counties here in Eastern Carolina.

McCrory has started the process of asking for a recount, a conservative leaning group filed a lawsuit over votes by same-day registrants and there have been formal election protests around the state.

Bob Hall, who leads the nonprofit Democracy North Carolina, says some voters are being unfairly maligned in local elections complaints with false accusations that they're felons.