A New Election Might Be the Only Way Forward in North Carolina

Nearly a month after Republican Mark Harris declared victory in his North Carolina race for the U.S. House of Representatives, the state's election board is declining to certify the result as it probes mail-in ballots from two rural counties that have been called into question.

A top North Carolina Republican is open to holding a new election in the race to represent the state's Ninth Congressional District in light of the evidence of voter fraud in the midterm election, CNN reported Thursday. According to the state Elections Board website, Harris received 73,752 absentee votes, one-stop and mail-in, and McCready received a total of 81,084.

The board met again last Friday and voted 7-2 to hold an evidentiary hearing on or before December 21.

"Clearly if what you reported is verified by the state board of elections ... there has to be a new election, and if ..."

McCready, an Iraq War veteran who outraised Harris in the campaign, initially conceded the day after the election, when Harris' lead was less than 1,900 votes. He changed his mind with the arrival of the allegations, some of which have been linked to a man who worked for Harris' chief strategist.

At issue is who can handle completed ballots.

The groups rely on data showing which voters requested absentee ballots but have not turned them in. Usually, those witnesses are family members or friends and ballots are not supposed to be handled by a third party.

That was before residents of rural Bladen County provided sworn affidavits that people came to their homes and collected absentee ballots that they had not filled in. Dowless has a felony criminal record. "And furthermore, I call on Mark Harris to tell the American people exactly what he knew and when he knew it". The Harris campaign and Red Dome founder Andy Yates didn't respond to an email seeking comment. "We should see every action they take to ignore this situation for what it is ― a slap in the face to all voters in North Carolina who participated in the 2018 election with the expectation that every vote would be counted". Harris said last week that his victory should be finalized while the board investigated.

The North Carolina Board of Elections is slated to hold an open hearing on or before December 21 to discuss the findings of its investigation. "I think we have to let the board of elections come show their hand if they can show that this conceivably could have flipped the race in that neighborhood, we will absolutely support a new election".

The state board could even vote to order a new election, setting up a rematch between Harris and McCready in 2019, depending on the outcome of its investigation. California is one state that allows anyone - including political operatives - to collect and turn in a ballot for a voter.

Leading House Democrat Steny Hoyer on Tuesday said his party may not seat Harris if the election remains in question when Democrats take control of the lower chamber in January.

Pittenger said he did not recall being told of fraud complaints his advisers made to Woodhouse and Foote, and he declined to confirm that he blamed "ballot stuffers" on election night.

In North Carolina, several state Senate Republicans whose districts overlap the 9th called for further scrutiny of voting irregularities going back to 2010 and urged Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper to create a bipartisan task force - separate from the state elections board - to investigate irregularities beyond this year's election.

"The U.S. Constitution states that the House is the judge of the "elections" and returns" of its members and the final arbiter of contests.

If the District 9 race is not certified by the state board, the leaders of the U.S. House can select either Harris or McCready to fill the seat, Stone said.

  • Tracy Klein