Wednesday, 20 February, 2019

State officials investigate potential election fraud in North Carolina; emergency hearing possible

Democrat Calls for Emergency Hearing in North Carolina's 9th District Race Over Voter Fraud State officials investigate potential election fraud in North Carolina; emergency hearing possible
Stacy Diaz | 08 December, 2018, 10:56

"But it is not likely that would happen", Dallas Woodhouse, North Carolina Republican Party executive director, wrote in an email.

House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi says the chamber could take the "extraordinary step" of calling for a new election in a North Carolina congressional district if the victor is unclear amid allegations of voter fraud.

Possible outcomes: According to Reuters, state officials could call for a new election, or the U.S. House of Representatives could rule on the outcome. The board is meeting later this month to hear evidence, but it's unclear whether the race will be settled then.

The investigation by the N.C. State Board of Elections and Ethics Enforcement is focused on claims that fraudulent absentee ballots were cast in the race between Republican Mark Harris and Democrat Dan McCready for the District 9 seat.

The North Carolina State Board of Elections signaled that it will hold a hearing on the allegations by December 21 and might decide if they will certify the election, call a new election, or take another course of action.

However, he said that if the investigation shows that the outcome would not have been changed, Republican candidate Harris should be certified the victor.

Multiple voters said in interviews that they handed over their ballots - some of which were not fully filled out and were left unsealed - to people who showed up at their doors and offered to collect them. It is illegal in North Carolina for a third party to turn in absentee ballots. But state election officials have refused to certify the results while looking at potential absentee ballot irregularities in at least two counties.

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He recalled concluding that Harris had won the overall vote with a strong showing from evangelical voters, but he said: "We did not look real specifically at absentee ballots".

But U.S. Rep. Steny Hoyer, D-Md., who will become House majority leader when the new Congress convenes in January, has said Democrats will refuse to seat Harris unless and until "substantial" questions about the integrity of the election are resolved.

"Any member-elect can object to the seating or the swearing in of another member-elect, and we'll see how that goes".

It was close, but North Carolina Republican Mark Harris was jubilant on election night.

A state election board spokesman confirmed Thursday that subpoenas seeking documents had been sent to the Harris campaign, the firm serving as Harris' chief strategist and the campaign committee of the sitting Bladen sheriff. But investigators are probing whether some absentee ballots were altered by Dowless and a loosely connected group working with him or collected from voters but never turned in.

North Carolina Republicans and Democrats continue to fight over how to investigate the allegations of election fraud. The state is investigating claims that a GOP operative may have manipulated ballots. Dan Bishop said at a press conference with fellow Republicans, according to WRAL-TV in Raleigh. That's one reason the GOP would be better off if the state held a new election for NC-09 and resolved the defects on their own. "Dowless' efforts were widely known, and we did share our concerns with several people", declining to elaborate on who he spoke to or what he said. Tommy Tucker of Union County.

"We're not ready to call for a new election yet", Woodhouse added, but that's still a long way from Woodhouse's position nine days ago.