Politics & Government

A timeline of the 9th district election 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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North Carolina’s elections board will meet Monday and Tuesday in Raleigh to decide the fate of a disputed election for U.S. House. Republican Mark Harris is asking the board to certify the results and send him to Congress — where the 9th district has been without a representative since January. His opponent, Democrat Dan McCready, wants the board to call for a new election, citing alleged absentee-ballot fraud.

Here’s a rundown of how we got here.

* May 8, 2018: Harris narrowly defeats incumbent Rep. Robert Pittenger in the GOP primary in the 9th Congressional District. Harris wins 437 mail-in absentee votes in Bladen County. Pittenger wins 17.

• Nov. 6, 2018: Harris wins an apparent victory over McCready in the general election, a bright spot for Republicans on a night when Democrats claim the U.S. House. Harris leads by 905 in unofficial results.

• Nov. 27, 2018: In a surprising move, the nine-member state board votes unanimously not to certify the results in the 9th district. Four Republicans join with five Democrats. Joshua Malcom, a Democrat from Pembroke and the board’s vice-chairman at the time, says: “I’m very familiar with unfortunate activities that have been happening down in my part of the state.”

• Nov. 30, 2018: The state board of elections again declines to certify the results of the election in a 7-2 vote. Two Republicans vote with the majority.

• Dec 28, 2018: A three-judge panel disbands the nine-member state board of elections as the result of an unrelated legal challenge. A hearing on the 9th district scheduled for Jan. 11 is canceled as a result. A new board will not be formed until Jan. 31, in accordance with state law.

• Jan. 3, 2019: The new Congress is sworn in in Washington, D.C., without a representative from the 9th district.

• Jan. 22, 2019: Wake County Superior Court judge Paul Ridgeway denies Harris’ attempt to make the board certify his victory.

• Jan. 31, 2019: Gov. Roy Cooper appoints five members (three Democrats and two Republicans) to the new state board of elections. The board elects Democrat Bob Cordle as its chairman.

• Feb. 7, 2019: The new board holds its first in-person meeting. In a closed-door session, it gets a look at the evidence uncovered by state board staff.

• Feb. 18-19, 2019: The board will hold a hearing on the 9th district and expects to vote at its conclusion.

Republican Mark Harris and attorney David Freedman answer questions in Raleigh, N.C., Thursday, Jan. 3, 2019. Harris was in Raleigh to be interviewed by the NC Board of Elections in regards to a political scandal in N.C.'s 9th Congressional District.

Republican and former pastor Mark Harris was the unofficial winner of the 9th District congressional seat over Dan McCready, but now he's at the center of a political scandal.

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.

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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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