Chief Justice recount nearly complete

Associate Justices Paul Newby and Robin Hudson applaud for new Chief Justice Cheri Beasley, center, of the N.C. Supreme Court during Beasley's investiture ceremony in Raleigh on Thursday, March 7, 2019. (Paul Woolverton/The Fayetteville Observer via AP)

RALEIGH – The recount in the closest statewide race is set to finish this week as five counties are left to finish tabulating votes.

County boards of elections in Forsyth, Guilford and Mecklenburg counties are set to resume their recount on Monday. Those counties have hundreds of thousands of ballots cast in the election. According to the state board website, Gates and Johnston counties also have not completed the process.

Republican Associate Justice Paul Newby leads incumbent Democratic Chief Justice Cheri Beasley by 465 votes, slightly expanding his lead after the initial results were finalized.

The state board says it will announce final results when all counties have completed their recounts. After that, the trailing candidate, within 24 hours, may demand a hand-to-eye recount in a random sample of 3% of precincts in each county.

If the results of a 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 jurisdiction (based on the proportion of ballots recounted to the total votes cast for that office) would result in the reversing of the results, then a statewide hand-to-eye recount of all ballots would be conducted.

Both candidates also have election protests to be considered by the state board but the meeting to hear those has not been set as of Monday morning.