The new Congress has been seated for nearly two weeks – but North Carolina’s 9th district still hasn’t sent a representative to Capitol Hill.
Republican Mark Harris led Democrat Dan McCready by little more than 900 votes after the midterm elections, according to the unofficial count, but accusations of voter fraud and irregularities have thrown the election into a chaotic legal battle.
Harris and his attorneys have asked the court to certify his victory over McCready since the state board of election officials refused to do so.
“If they had discovered a shred of evidence, if they had one, they would have made it public. They didn’t because they don’t have one,” North Carolina GOP chairman Robin Hayes said. The party has released a 20-page report arguing for Harris to be certified, WCNC-TV reported.
Harris also wants the state elections board to release what its investigation into the allegations have uncovered thus far.
The state elections board, which has since been dissolved, chiefly focused its probe on absentee ballots, particularly in Bladen County – the only county in the district where Harris won a majority of mail-in ballots over McCready. A Bladen County political operative, McCrae Dowless, was pointed to as a “person of interest” after witnesses alleged he collected incomplete and unsealed ballots from voters.
“Without those findings, the cloud of suspicion surrounding both the Ninth District election and Dr. Harris’ good name – a cloud of the State Board’s making – will persist,” Harris’ lawyers contended.
McCready’s lawyers are asking for a continued delay in any certification of Harris as the election winner citing evidence that “strongly suggests that Harris’ hand-picked agent conducted widespread fraudulent activity … for Harris’ benefit,” according to The Charlotte Observer. He’s asked for the hold up to continue until a new elections board completes its investigation.
“Harris has an alternative, legally adequate remedy, which is to allow the Board, which will be appointed and reconvene in less than three weeks, to finish its investigation and hold the evidentiary hearing,” his lawyers said.
House Democrats have also called for Congress to investigate the allegations of voting “irregularities” during the election.