Recount required

Published 9:33 pm Tuesday, November 20, 2012

In deciding who should sit in the North Carolina Senate seat representing District 1, some 87,454 voters cast ballots in the Nov. 6 general election.
Currently, no one knows with certainty the outcome of the contest between State Rep. Bill Cook of Beaufort County and incumbent Sen. Stan White of Dare County.
White, a Democrat, apparently had the unofficial lead over Cook, a Republican, before votes were canvassed last Friday.
Cook now leads by a razor-thin margin of 32 votes.
As many candidates do under these circumstances, the Cook campaign has called on White to concede.
“The voters have spoken and every vote has been counted. I call on my opponent to concede the race and save the cash-strapped counties the expense of a cumbersome recount,” Cook said in a news release. “It serves no purpose to keep the voters in limbo about their new representation in the Senate.”
Apparently Cook has had a change of heart since election night.
“I think (a recount) is what I’m probably going to do,” Cook said from his home after hearing he trailed White by nearly 400 votes Nov. 6. “Four hundred is awfully close. It’s definitely a recount.”
White, opting to wait for a decisive recount, has already filed a request with the State Board of Elections.
“I think what surprised me more than anything else was the number of discarded provisional votes. I know a lot of folks who thought they were registered and were not, and certainly their votes didn’t count,” White said.
The most important element of this contested race is not necessarily who won but the credibility and validity of election results. Voters need to have confidence in the accuracy of the vote tallies, and that can only be determined by a transparent recount under the watchful eyes of observers from both campaigns.
Beaufort County Elections Director Kellie Harris Hopkins has promised a fair and impartial recount to both parties.
“The board and myself will continue to serve Representative Cook and Senator White in the capacity of conducting a fair and correct recount without favor to either party concerned,” Hopkins said in an email. “Observers are welcome during the recount and will reinforce that we conduct fair elections in Beaufort County.”
Voters should expect nothing less.