Analyzing the NC Governor’s Race

Yesterday, incumbent Republican North Carolina governor Pat McCrory requested a recount of the results of the November election. This was before the first results had been certified, the delay being caused by charges from his organization of widespread voter fraud, but according to NC law November 22nd was the deadline to file such a motion. Currently his Democratic opponent Roy Cooper is up by 6000 votes. This recount will cost the State approximately $1.5 million.

The most frightening aspect of this whole situation are the voter fraud allegations. There is absolutely no evidence of voter fraud, but by making such unfounded claims McCrory calls into question the whole democratic process and the peaceful transfer of power. In North Carolina voter fraud is a felony, which carries extremely stiff penalties, including the temporary suspension of the right to vote. This makes the risks very high for very minimal rewards, so I thought I’d do a little math to show the ridiculousness of these claims.

For the most part, Republicans won handily most offices in North Carolina. Donald Trump won the presidential race by 177K votes (51% to 47%) and Richard Burr was returned to the Senate by 268K votes (51% to 45%). Since the presidential race was closer, let’s take those percentages as a starting point for what the governor’s race would have looked like had similar voting patterns happened there.

With 4.66 million votes cast in that race, McCrory would have gotten 2.376 million votes (51%) to Cooper’s 2.190 million (47%) votes, for a difference of 186K votes. Thus for McCrory’s allegations to be true, roughly 192K votes would have to be fraudulent in order to bring about the result we saw. That means that over 4% of the votes cast in the governor’s race would need to be fraudulent. It it silly to think that so many people would risk a felony conviction for this.

This also assumes that people voting fraudulently would have voted for Cooper but not Clinton and Ross, otherwise we would have seen much closer totals in those races. That seems to be a stretch.

Of course, in the big conspiracy of which McCrory claims to be the victim, these voters could have just voted in the governor’s race and not the other races, but then we should see a much larger number of votes cast in comparison. For president, 4.629 million votes were cast and for the Senate 4.639 million votes were cast. For governor, 4.658 million votes were cast, which is more than the other two races but not enough to account for the nearly 200K vote swing required.

No, what happened was that North Carolinians, both Democrats and Republicans, rejected the policies of the McCrory administration in a year that saw other Republican candidates win by decent margins. This recount is just another way, and I hope the final way, in which he’ll waste our taxpayer dollars.

[Note: vote totals for calculations taken from The New York Times]