RALEIGH – The recount and recanvassing of precincts is finsihed — Paul Newby still won by just over 400 votes. So, is it officially over now? Of course not! This is 2020; what did you expect?
The margin is the closest in history, and the counting will go on.
Democrat Cheri Beasley, by every indication a loser of this election by a hair, has now requested a ‘Hand to Eye’ recount of certain precincts. The State Board of Elections has granted this request, and board members will determine on Friday afternoon which voting precincts will be sampled in the recount.
The chances of anything changing are extremely low, but they will shuffle the deck again anyway, on the off chance it could shift votes to her benefit.
Now, the mechanics of this sampled recount, and the math of what it would take to make a difference, is complicated. If they only sample a few places, how many votes what need to change to triggered a statewide hand to eye recount?
Making sense of it all is Andy Jackson of the Civitas Institute:
“[…] The hand-eye recount procedure is dictated by law in GS 163-182.7A:
That sample shall be all the ballots in three percent (3%) of the precincts casting ballots in each county in the jurisdiction of the office, rounded up to the next whole number of precincts. For the purpose of that calculation, each one-stop (early) voting site shall be considered to be a precinct. The precincts to be recounted by a hand-to-eye count shall be chosen at random within each county.
So every county will have to do a hand-recount in at least one precinct or early voting site (voting locations) and moves up depending on the number of voting locations in the county:
- 34+ voting locations: recount 2
- 67+ voting locations: recount 3
- 100+ voting locations: recount 4
Absentee-by-mail ballots should be counted with their respective precincts.
So what are we looking for in this partial recount? Let’s refer to GS 163-182.7A again:
If the results of the 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 the State Board of Elections shall order a hand-to-eye recount of the entire jurisdiction in which the election is held. There shall be no cost to the candidate for that recount in the entire jurisdiction.
Presuming that voting locations that were selected will contain 3% of the ballots accepted in the 2020 election, about 166,375 ballots will be hand-counted, including roughly 161,745 votes in the chief justice race. Three percent of 401 (the current margin in the race) is 12.03, meaning that Beasley would have to get at least 13 additional votes out of that 161,745. So, there are several possible results of the partial hand-to-eye count:
- If Newby’s lead increases by any amount, Newby wins.
- If there is no change, Newby wins.
- If Beasley gains 1-12 votes, Newby wins.
- If Beasley gains 13 or more votes, there is a hand-to-eye recount of all ballots in the state.
So, the magic number to look out for as this process continues is 13. […]”
It seems unlikely such a number will be hit, having already picked through the votes for protests. Jackson says, with any luck, the race for Chief Justice could finally be decided by Christmas.
And having a Republican Chief Justice Paul Newby of the N.C. Supreme Court will help it be a Merry Christmas for those that wished for more deference to the Constitution.