RALEIGH — The re-election campaign of Gov. Pat McCrory says fraudulent ballots were cast in 11 more North Carolina counties, including Robeson, in addition to Bladen County, where concerns had already been raised.
The campaign, in a Wednesday news release, said protests were being filed in Robeson, Halifax, Durham, Edgecombe, Franklin, Guilford, Nash, Northampton, Vance, Wake and Warren counties.
The announcement comes just after a protest was filed saying a political action committee funded by the Democratic Party paid people in Bladen County to fill out absentee ballots favoring Democrats, including McCrory’s opponent, Roy Cooper.
The race between McCrory and Cooper has yet to be called, with about 5,000 votes separating them statewide. There are tens of thousands of provisional and absentee ballots still to be counted, and that work is supposed to be done by local boards of election on Friday, and results sent to Raleigh.
McCrory’s campaign alleges that the Democratic Party also transferred money to political action committees in the other 11 counties and that “similar absentee voting and handwriting patterns as in Bladen County have been discovered in at least one of these counties.”
“It appears that our worst fears have come true and this absentee ballot fraud scheme may run deeper than just Bladen County,” said Russell Peck, Pat McCrory’s campaign manager. “Unfortunately, we may also have uncovered the real reason Roy Cooper fought so hard against efforts to prevent voter fraud as attorney general. These voter fraud concerns must be addressed before the results of the election can be finalized.”
The Bladen County Board of Elections described absentee ballots with “overtly similar” handwriting in a Nov. 2 letter to the state Board of Elections.
The governor has also questioned about 90,000 ballots in Durham County that were counted late on Election Night. Cooper won 78.54 percent of votes cast in Durham County.
The protests ask that county elections board review the absentee ballot envelopes for evidence of fraud before certifying election results on Friday.
“Roy Cooper’s lead continues to grow stronger,” Cooper’s campaign posted on Facebook Tuesday. “With every day we are more confident that Cooper’s election night victory will be confirmed after the final vote canvass. We hope that with this clear margin of victory, Governor McCrory will stop all efforts to undermine the results of this election.”
McCrory holds a nearly 8 percent margin over Cooper in Robeson County, where each made stops in the wake of Hurricane Matthew. In Bladen County, McCrory is winning by nearly 7 percent.
Sarah Willets can be reached at 910-816-1974 or on Twitter @Sarah_Willets.