N.C. election panel meets to decide whether midterm race will be re-run

UPI

Feb. 18 (UPI) — A new election committee was set to meet Monday to decide whether voters in North Carolina’s 9th District will re-run a midterm race for the House.

The district’s seat remains vacant because the Nov. 6 race was fraught with allegations of illegal ballot collection and election fraud. Republican Mark Harris finished with 905 more votes than Democrat Dan McCready in unofficial results but the State Board of Elections refused to certify the results.

McCready and his campaign called for a new election, hoping to add another seat to the Democratic majority in the House. Harris and the Republicans want him certified as the winner and view the complaints as a conspiracy.

The North Carolina State Board of Elections will start meeting Monday to decide what should be done next. They will consider evidence that has been gathered over the last three months. The meetings could last through Wednesday.

At issue is whether political operative McCrae Dowless and others paid by Dowless picked up vote-by-mail ballots in person in Bladen County, where Harris won 61 percent of the vote. That led to accusations that ballots were manipulated or thrown out.

The state board of elections brought Dowless in to testify in a potential election fraud case, also in Bladen County, in the 2016 election.

The elections board is made up of three Democrats and two Republicans. They will meet at the North Carolina State Bar building.

Progress NC Action, which backs McCready, has called for a full investigation. The group will join several other Democratic organizations in confronting Harris and Dowless when they arrive for the hearing Monday.

“Clearly, the illegal absentee ballot harvesting scheme employed by the Harris for Congress campaign has tainted the results of the entire election and cast doubt on its fairness,” said the group’s executive director, Gerrick Brenner. “Only a new election in the 9th Congressional District will restore the voters’ faith in democratic elections.”

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