RALEIGH - The Wake County Board of Elections started retabulating ballots on Sunday cast in four contested state and county races in downtown Raleigh.
The precinct-by-precinct recount, which coincides with the ongoing presidential recounts in Florida, will help determine winners in the races for State Commissioner of Labor, a seat on the N.C. Court of Appeals, Wake County Commissioner and Wake County District 10 Judge.
The candidates with fewer Wake County votes in each of the four races requested the recount. State law allows county candidates to request a recount if the difference in votes is less than 1 percent of the total vote count.
State candidates can request recounts if the apparent winner leads by fewer than 10,000 votes.
Connie Mitchell, Wake County Board of Elections chairwoman, said the board set an unofficial Wednesday deadline to complete the recount of the more than 265,000 ballots cast in Wake County.
"We are recounting everything, just like Election Day," Mitchell said.
Prior to the recounts, Democrat Doug Berger led Republican Cherie Berry in the Labor Commissioner race by 3,100 votes, Democrat Jim Fuller led Republican John Tyson in the appeals court race by 4,554 votes, Republican Kenn Gardner led Democrat Yevonne Brannon in the county commissioner race by 3,662 votes and Republican Kris Bailey led Democrat Fred Morelock in the district judge race by 3,074 votes.
Mitchell said the Wake County Board of Elections requested to start the recount on Sunday in hopes of finishing before Thanksgiving Day. Some officials started the recount with leg-and-arm stretches, preparing for upcoming days of counting.
Precinct official Prenetta Evans of Cary, who worked at a satellite voting station during the Nov. 7 election, said she was pleased to help when the board asked.
Mitchell said precinct officials volunteered to re-enter the ballots into 18 designated tabulator machines, designed to recount the ballots with a 0.0004 percent margin of error.
Gardner, who is currently leading in the county commissioner race, said he was confident that the results of the recounts would be accurate.
"The (officials) are really professional and on top of things," Gardner said. "I have lots of faith in Wake County, unlike the process in Florida."
Gardner, who was winning by 2,300 votes prior to Sunday, said his Democratic opponent was correct to request the recount.
"She was well within her rights to do so," he said. "People need to feel the results are accurate."
And Gardner echoed the sentiments expressed by some Americans waiting for the Florida election results.
"I will be glad to get beyond this point - no matter what the outcome."
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