The state board of elections Tuesday refused to certify the results of the 9th Congressional District election after one board member cited what he called “unfortunate activities” in the eastern part of the district.
It’s unclear what those activities involved or what the failure to certify might mean. The board discussed the matter in closed session.
Republican Mark Harris defeated Democrat Dan McCready by 905 votes.
Election board member Joshua Malcolm raised the issue in what was expected to be a routine certification of the results of North Carolina’s 13 congressional races. He asked the board to remove the 9th District from the list of those to be certified.
“I’m very familiar with unfortunate activities that have been happening down in my part of the state,” vice chair 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.”
Malcolm cited a statute that allows the board the authority to take any necessary action “to assure that an election is determined without taint of fraud or corruption and without irregularities that may have changed the result of an election.”
Republicans cried foul.
“We think they have abused their discretion and violated the statute,” said Dallas Woodhouse, executive director of the state GOP. “This will inevitably end up in court. The fact of the matter is Mark Harris won the race. He got more votes.”
McCready conceded to Harris the day after the election.
Woodhouse said Republicans believe the issue stems from Bladen County, the district’s eastern-most county. Harris won Bladen by 1,557 votes.
The 9th District stretches from southeast Charlotte east through eight counties.
A spokesman for the Harris campaign would not comment. The McCready campaign could not be reached.