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Campaigns for lieutenant governor remain in high gear

Linda Coleman's campaign to become lieutenant governor has turned from an effort to convince voters to choose her to trying to convince local boards of elections they should count more provisional ballots.

Her campaign produced a list of 500 voters Wednesday who cast provisional ballots that are in the "not counted" pile, but which the campaign says are registered voters who voted in their home counties.

The campaign has a team plowing through the list of more than 51,000 people who cast provisional ballots, looking for those whose votes they think are about to be improperly thrown out.

Coleman, a Democrat, is trailing Republican Dan Forest in the race, but she continues a full-on press to count votes that weren't part of the Election Day tally. She has closed the gap by more than 1,000 votes since election night, with some counties rolling in counts of mail-in and provisional ballots. According to the last unofficial count, she trails by 10,309 votes.

Forest put out a call for volunteers to observe vote counts in every county.

Kevin LeCount, who is advising Coleman's campaign, said there may be thousands more provisional ballots cast by registered voters that local boards are on the verge of rejecting.

The campaign on Wednesday asked the State Board of Elections for copies of the envelopes that contain rejected provisional ballots and reports from each local board of elections on why they approved or rejected them.

Campaign workers are wondering whether some ballots are being kicked out because of last names spelled with or without hyphens, or some other explanable difference from the poll book.

"We can't tell if we don't look at the envelope," said LeCount, political director at the State Employees Association of North Carolina.

The state Division of Motor Vehicles rejected the campaign's request for information from voter registration applications that came through the DMV.  The campaign wanted the information by Wednesday, a deadline the DMV said it couldn't make.

Coleman is under heavy time pressure because the counties must finish their vote counts Friday.


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