The North Carolina state elections board on Monday directed county election boards to dismiss any ballot protests that questioned a voter's eligibility, effectively tossing most protests filed by Republicans.
The ruling is a blow to Gov. Pat McCrory, who has seized on a flurry of ballot protests filed by Republicans to decry widespread voter fraud as he refuses to concede to his Democratic challenger, state Attorney General Roy Cooper. McCrory is currently trailing Cooper by about 9,800 votes, according to the board of elections website, although ten counties still have not certified their vote totals.
In its Monday order, the state elections board distinguished between a protest and a challenge: A protest "must prove the occurrence of an outcome-determinative violation of election law, irregularity, or misconduct" and a challenge contests the eligibility of a voter. Republicans submitted dozens of protests alleging that ballots were cast by people who were dead, who were felons or who had voted elsewhere, but the order states those "protests" should be considered challenges. The deadline to submit such challenges was 25 days before Election Day.
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