RALEIGH — With the Trump campaign filing suit in multiple battleground states, the NCGOP is still working to make sure ballots are counted and that the party is ready for any legal battles, including potential recounts in certain races.
President Donald Trump’s campaign is pursuing multiple legal avenues over disputed results, ballot irregularities, blocked observer access, and lack of transparency in the key battleground states of Arizona, Georgia, Michigan, Nevada and Pennsylvania.
“We are continuing our Election Day efforts,” said NCGOP Press Secretary Tim Wigginton.
Wigginton said that they have volunteers at the county and state levels helping to track down voters who used provisional ballots in order to make sure that if the ballot had any errors the voter would be able to fix them.
“We’re doing small-dollar fundraising,” Wigginton said. “People are still engaged in the election efforts and we have to send observers to all of the county board of elections meetings.”
He said their volunteers need to know the rules and what the laws are governing ballot processing and that generates expenses such as hotel and hotel stays.
“There are still lawyers and teams working on election efforts,” Wigginton said when asked about the potential for an election-related or recount lawsuit. “Just because we haven’t filed a suit yet doesn’t mean we won’t. We want to be ready and have everything documented if we have to go that route.”
At the top of the possible recount list is the N.C. State Supreme Court Chief Justice race between Senior Associate Justice Paul Newby and current Chief Justice Cheri Beasley, who Gov. Roy Cooper elevated to the role due to the departure of former Chief Justice Mark Martin in 2019.
As of Thursday morning, Newby’s lead of around 3,000 over Beasley has dropped to 825. By 5 p.m. today, the acceptance of absentee by-mail ballots which are post-marked on election day will cease.
The N.C. State Board of Elections (NCSBE) has stated that the final county canvass of results will occur on Nov. 13. Canvass is the process of ensuring votes have been counted correctly and audits have been completed. The state board will meet Nov. 24 to certify the results.
“As of Tuesday morning, 93,000 voters who requested an absentee by-mail ballot had not yet returned an accepted ballot or voted in person during the early voting period,” said a Nov. 10 NCSBE press release.
On Nov. 11, the NCSBE said there were 24,300 absentee ballots that have been accepted by county boards either on or after Election Day. Additionally, the NCSBE indicated that there are 20,140 provisional ballots that haven’t been disqualified and at least 20,100 provisional ballots that won’t be counted.
Wigginton said they hoped the NCGOP would not have to file a suit in that race but said that “if we have to we will be ready for it.”
The chief justice position is key as the person in that role controls the Administration of the Courts.
A win for Newby would also mean breaking up the current hyper-partisan makeup of the court which currently is six Democrats with Newby being the only Republican.
“If we lose the chief justice seat, we can’t take the majority and will have to wait four more years,” said Wigginton.
Spending on the chief justice race by pro-Beasley groups has topped $2.2 million, dwarfing the roughly $400,000 spent by pro-Newby groups.