Provisional ballots could decide NC governor’s race

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RALEIGH, N.C. (WAVY/WRAL) — About 60,000 provisional ballots could impact Tuesday’s election results in the gubernatorial race that’s still too close to call.

Democratic Attorney General Roy Cooper declared victory over Republican incumbent Pat McCrory, but McCrory says he is waiting to see the final tally of provisional ballots before giving up.

Less than 5,000 votes, or about one-tenth of one percent, is what separates the two candidates.

“I think the race being close is very exciting, and I am looking forward to finding out who the winner is,” said Judith Fearing, who didn’t want to disclose who she voted for Tuesday.

A provisional ballot is given to voters when election officials are unable to verify a person’s registration at the polls. After Election Day, officials in county election board offices research each provisional voter and approve or deny their ballot.

“If these are registered voters who registered on time, their ballots will count,” said Pat Gannon, a spokesman for the State Board of Elections. “If they voted in the wrong precinct, then parts of their ballot – the races they’re eligible to vote in – will count.”

Many voters tell 10 On Your Side they believe House Bill 2 — the so-called bathroom bill — is to blame for the nail-biter.

McCrory signed the bill that requires transgender people to use restrooms in schools and government buildings that correspond to the gender as written on their birth certificate

“I think that bill brought about a loss of business,” said Maggie Cox, who owns and operates a clothing store in Duck.

“I think we’ve got other things we need to worry about,” said Courtney Cromer. “I do believe in equal rights. I think our LGBT community deserves our support … [but] the way they voted on HB2 is not a big priority of mine.”

According to WRAL-TV, experts say provisional votes don’t typically change election results, and in this case, many come from urban counties that supported Cooper.

The North Carolina State Board of Elections requires all county offices to submit any approved provisional ballots by next Friday, Nov. 18.

If either McCrory or Cooper loses by less than 10,000 votes, they may demand a recount.