Politics & Government

Decision on new election expected this month in 9th district fraud investigation

What’s the political controversy in North Carolina’s 9th district?

Here's an overview of the election fraud allegations in North Carolina's congressional 9th district.
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Here's an overview of the election fraud allegations in North Carolina's congressional 9th district.

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Election fraud investigation

Read more about the investigation into the 9th Congressional District

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The newly appointed state board of elections plans to vote on whether to certify the election — or call for a new one — in North Carolina’s 9th Congressional District after a hearing on Feb. 18 and 19 in Raleigh, the board’s chairman said Monday.

The five-member board, appointed by Gov. Roy Cooper on Jan. 31, will begin its evidentiary hearing at 10 a.m. at the North Carolina State Bar in Raleigh. The hearing is expected to last for two days, but the site has been reserved for three.

Republican Mark Harris leads Democrat Dan McCready by 905 votes in the unofficial results from the 9th district. But the previous nine-member state board twice declined to certify the results, citing irregularities among mail-in absentee ballots in Bladen and Robeson counties.

The previous board had scheduled an evidentiary hearing for January, but a court disbanded the nine-member board on Dec. 28 due to an unrelated issue.

Harris attempted to get his election certified in Wake County Superior Court, but was denied.

In his ruling on a petition by Republican Mark Harris, Wake County Superior Court Judge Paul Ridgeway said it would be inappropriate for him to order elections officials to take an action while they are still investigating election fraud in NC 9.

The state board has three Democrats and two Republicans. It takes three votes to certify the election results and four votes to call for a new election.

A vote will be held at the end of the meeting, said Bob Cordle, the board’s new chair.

“That’s normal process of the state board,” Cordle, a retired Charlotte attorney, told The Charlotte Observer on Monday. “You have a vote at that time.”

The state board will meet on Feb. 7 for other business, including appointments to county boards of elections. That meeting will include an executive session, during which staff will brief the state board on the evidence it has uncovered during its investigation, Cordle said.

Cordle lives in the 9th district.

Seating for the Feb. 18 evidentiary hearing is limited, but the hearing is “likely” to be live streamed by the news media, according to the state board.

The 9th district has not had a representative in the new Congress, which took office in early January.

McCrae Dowless is at the center of controversy in North Carolina's 9th district, but most of the time he's stayed behind the scenes.

Follow more of our reporting on The North Carolina election fraud investigation

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Brian Murphy covers North Carolina’s congressional delegation and state issues from Washington, D.C., for The News & Observer, The Charlotte Observer and The Herald-Sun. He grew up in Cary and graduated from UNC-Chapel Hill. He previously worked for news organizations in Georgia, Idaho and Virginia. Reach him at 202.383.6089 or bmurphy@mcclatchydc.com.

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