Ole Pat labored faithfully day-in and day-out and did his best to whip Roy for almost two years but no matter how hard he tried he couldn’t quite catch up – on Election Night when the first returns rolled in it looked like the polls were right: Pat trailed. But within an hour the world brightened: Suddenly Pat was ahead and for the next four hours he watched his lead grow to 10,000, 20,000, 50,000 votes until midnight when his world turned upside down.
Durham County had struggled for hours to count 94,000 votes but around midnight when it reported, Pat’s lead vanished: He trailed by 5,000 votes. And an hour later Roy declared victory.
But Pat didn’t give up.
Being a press spokesman used to be a job that required a level head but these days most press spokesmen are twenty-something gunslingers and after Pat challenged Roy’s votes in 52 counties the adrenaline was pumping, anxiety was rampant, and both sides were feeling testy.
Roy Cooper’s out to count the votes of dead people, Pat McCrory’s press spokesman Ricky Diaz declared – and Roy Cooper’s spokesman Fred Porter shot back, Pat’s desperate. He wants to undermine an election he lost.
It was like watching two high school drama queens having a cat fight.
Right now, Roy has a 6,600 vote lead which is only a fraction of 1% of the vote but, on the other hand, Elections Boards have counted the votes accurately in election after election. Can you recall a loser turning himself into a winner by challenging votes?
That said, this is the land of the free and the home of the brave so Pat’s got a right to have his say – though it’s not quite as simple as it sounds: His folks can’t just walk into an Elections Board hearing and say, ‘Here’s a list of 100 people we think voted illegally. Disallow their votes.’ They have to also say, ‘And here’s our proof.’
As a practical matter you can all but forget about Pat’s challenges in 51 of those 52 counties. The heart of his case doesn’t come down to challenging a hundred votes in Raleigh or a few dozen votes in Halifax County: It comes down to those 94,000 votes in Durham where something odd – the newspaper reported it was a software malfunction – happened on Election Night.
Even the Governor’s attorney admits he doesn’t expect recounting those votes will change the outcome of the election – but there is one virtue in a recount: It’ll prove to the doubters that vote counts are fair.
So why not recount Durham’s votes – and put everyone’s mind at ease?