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FIRST ON 3: McIntyre-Rouzer margin shrinks slightly

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WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) -- The vote margin separating Rep. Mike McIntyre and challenger David Rouzer in their race for Congress has shrunk slightly. The difference between their totals is now a 394-vote advantage for McIntyre. That's 0.12 percent of the 334,202 votes counted in the contest so far.

When the state Board of Elections first reported totals with 100 percent of precincts reporting late Tuesday night, McIntyre led Rouzer by 378 votes. That grew to a 507-vote edge for the Democratic incumbent yesterday.

"The county boards (of elections) are reviewing the results as reported to ensure that they were reported correctly," NC Board of Elections Deputy Director Johnnie McLean told WWAY by phone this afternoon. "They may have completed their provisional ballot research and may have counted those provisional ballots that qualified."

Provisional ballots are cast by voters who do not appear on the voter roll at the precinct they show up to on Election Day. Those voters' registration records must be researched to see if they are eligible to vote.

McLean said in the 12 counties that are part of the 7th Congressional District there were about 10,000 provisional ballots cast, but some of those may not apply to this race. For example, they may have been cast in parts of New Hanover and Pender counties that are now part of the 3rd Congressional District.

All reported vote totals are unofficial until they are canvassed and certified. That will happen for the 7th District race November 16. At that point, the trailing candidate can ask for a recount. If the margin is within one percent, the candidate does not have to pay for that recount.

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