SBI investigates Durham county primary election

(AP file)
(AP file)

RALEIGH (AP) — The Latest on disputed election results in Durham County, North Carolina, after the state’s still-undecided election for governor (all times local):

4:30 p.m.

North Carolina’s top criminal investigations agency is looking into whether crimes were committed in last spring’s primary election in Durham County. The county is now the likely ground zero in the fight over last week’s still-in-doubt race for governor.

The State Bureau of Investigation and Durham’s district attorney confirmed Monday that criminal investigators have been on the case for two weeks

The SBI is investigating the mishandling of more than 1,000 provisional ballots during the March primary elections. The state elections board found some votes may have been counted twice.

Gov. Pat McCrory’s re-election campaign claims wrongful or illegal conduct in the heavily Democratic county last week, when 94,000 votes were reported late on election night. McCrory currently trails Democrat Roy Cooper by about 5,000 votes.

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11 a.m.

Durham County’s elections board is defending itself against charges by Gov. Pat McCrory’s campaign of wrongful or illegal conduct in the reporting late on election night of 94,000 votes cast in the heavily Democratic county.

The elections board released a detailed description of what happened after a lawyer for the state Republican Party filed a formal protest accusing the board of “malfeasance” in counting the ballots. Durham election officials say every step in counting the early votes was watched by Republican members of the county board and later by a state elections official.

McCrory’s re-election effort was in the lead for much election night last Tuesday until the 94,000 Durham County votes were reported shortly before midnight. That turned the advantage to Democratic Attorney General Roy Cooper.