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Election fraud allegations in NC congressional race: What we know

Brian Murphy and Ely Portillo, McClatchy Washington Bureau on

Published in Political News

One month after Election Day, all eyes are on North Carolina's 9th Congressional District.

Republican Mark Harris scored an apparent victory in the district, defeating Democrat Dan McCready by 905 votes in November. But North Carolina's state board of elections has not certified the results of the election, citing irregularities among mail-in absentee ballots. The board plans a hearing on or before Dec. 21.

The 9th District stretches from Charlotte to Fayetteville, hugging the South Carolina border. It is currently represented by Rep. Robert Pittenger, a Republican whom Harris defeated in May's Republican primary.

Why didn't the state board certify?

-- On Nov. 27, the nine-member North Carolina State Board of Elections and Ethics Enforcement voted unanimously not to certify the results of several elections, including the 9th District, The Charlotte Observer reported.

"I'm very familiar with unfortunate activities that have been happening down in my part of the state," then-vice chair Joshua Malcolm, a Robeson County Democrat, told the board. "And I am not going to turn a blind eye to what took place to the best of my understanding which has been ongoing for a number of years that has repeatedly been referred to the United States attorney and the district attorneys for them to take action and clean it up. And in my opinion those things have not taken place."

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The board is made up of four Democrats, four Republicans and one unaffiliated member.

-- The board met again Nov. 30 and again declined to certify the results in the 9th District. The board, in a 7-2 vote, called for an evidentiary hearing due "to claims of numerous irregularities and concerted fraudulent activities related to absentee mail ballots" and "to assure that the election is determined without taint of fraud or corruption and without irregularities that may have changed the result of an election," Malcolm said.

No hearing date has been set.

-- The board's chairman, Andy Penry, resigned Saturday over unrelated tweets, The News & Observer reported. Gov. Roy Cooper promoted Malcolm to chairman and appointed former board member Robert Cordle to the board Monday, The News & Observer reported.

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