North Carolina's Election Is Filled with Legal Challenges

November 22nd 2016

Laura Donovan

In the two weeks since Presidential-elect Donald Trump's shocking electoral win, another controversial race has largely avoided the national media spotlight.

North Carolina's gubernatorial race remains undecided and mired in challenges launched by incumbent Pat McCrory.


Here's what's been happening.

Roy Cooper, who is currently the state's attorney general, was leading in the polls against Republican opponent and current North Carolina governor Pat McCrory right up until election day on November 8. Cooper declared victory on election day with a lead of around 4,000 votes, but McCrory refused to concede until after provisional ballots were tallied.

Then, on Sunday, The State Board of Elections declared that Cooper was ahead by more than 6,000 votes; the following day, Cooper even announced his transition team. However, McCrory's spokesperson Ricky Diaz has cast doubt on Cooper's insistence that he's won, and even questioned legitimacy of the votes that Cooper has earned.

voting lines in NC

"Why is Roy Cooper so insistent on circumventing the electoral process and counting the votes of dead people and felons?" McCrory's spokesperson Ricky Diaz said in a statement on Monday. "It may be because he needs those fraudulent votes to count in order to win. Instead of insulting North Carolina voters, we intend to let the process work as it should to ensure that every legal vote is counted properly."

According to The Charlotte Observer, thus far all complaints of votes being cast by dead people were filed by county leaders for the Republican party.

Many people have encouraged McCrory to accept the outcome, but he has shown no signs of admitting defeat.

"I understand it's hard to lose," state Rep. Tricia Cotham (D) told reporters Monday, The Charlotte Observer reported. "McCrory needs to be a statesman and do what the voters wanted and concede this race."

Rhonda Amoroso, a Republican State Board of Elections member, told The News & Observer that this controversy paints an unflattering portrait of the state's election process. “It may appear to folks in the public that we have a systemic issue of voter fraud. It puts a cloud over the integrity of the election process of North Carolina," Amoroso said.

McCrory and North Carolina Republicans have earned criticism for their approach.

Gov. McCrory

"Instead of accepting the results of the election, Republicans are attempting to entrench their power through a series of unethical, underhanded, and constitutionally dubious maneuvers," Slate writer Mark Joseph Stern wrote on Monday. "Their corrupt disregard for basic governing norms — their blatant preference for raw power over democratic legitimacy — should alarm us all. What’s happening in North Carolina is not mere politics. It is a perversion of democracy."

Washington Post reporter Amber Phillips wrote in a piece published Tuesday that should McCrory lose, he will become the first North Carolina governor to lose reelection in state history, as well as the only incumbent governor to lose in 2016.

McCrory has been mired in controversy all-year long.

McCrory came under fire in the spring for supporting House Bill 2, a law that requires transgender individuals to use the restroom or locker room that is consistent with their biological sex at birth.

The law, which was widely considered discriminatory toward the transgender community, prompted both a lawsuit by the Justice Department and the withdrawal of businesses, performers, and sporting events from the state.

Cooper called HB2 a "national embarrassment."