Add North Carolina to the number of states whose congressional elections were accused of being mishandled, Slate is reporting. The official count reports that Republican Mark Harris has been elected to the House of Representatives for North Carolina’s 9th Congressional District, with a lead of 905 votes against Democratic politician Dan McCready. Now, the North Carolina State Board of Elections is postponing the declaration of Harris’ victory in wake of serious, credible allegations of fraud. This delay may not last long, however, as this board was recently ruled “unconstitutional” and is set to be dissolved by Monday at midnight.
The vice chair of the state board has said that “unfortunate activities” occurred in Bladen County particularly. Officials are speculating that there was a conspiracy to block some absentee ballots, which typically tend to to lean more toward Democratic candidates. Two different voters claim that a woman came to their doors and told them she was in charge of delivering absentee ballots. One voter said she allowed the woman to fill out the rest of her ballot for her, while the other voter said she handed over the ballot to the woman without signing it or placing it in a sealed envelope. In addition, North Carolina citizen Dwight Sheppard claims he overheard a conversation that alleged operative Leslie McCrae Dowless, Jr. expected to receive a $40,000 bonus if Harris were to win the election.
Make no mistake, I support any efforts to investigate allegations of irregularities and/or voter fraud, as long as it is fair and focuses on all political parties. There is absolutely no public evidence that there are enough ballots in question to affect the outcome of this race.
— Mark Harris (@MarkHarrisNC9) November 30, 2018
Many skeptics of Harris’ win point out that the amount of unreturned mail-in ballots for the 9th congressional district was suspiciously high in comparison to the rest of the districts in North Carolina. It was also pointed out that the amount of absentee ballots in favor of Harris were unusually high, with Harris receiving 61 percent of votes and McCready only bringing in 38 percent of votes. Bladen County was also the only county to in North Carolina where a Republican won the absentee vote.
While the election board is made up of four Democrats, four Republicans, and one undecided person, the conclusion to hold off on declaring Harris’ victory was decided on unanimously. Technically, if the board cannot elect a winner, the vote is then handed over to the House of Representatives, who would hold their own hearings to select the winner. After North Carolina citizens voted against an amendment that would refuse that the governor, who is currently Democrat Roy Cooper, be the sole authority over elections, the board is not allowed to operate past midnight on December 3.