North Carolina GOP Calls for New Election ‘If Early Voting Numbers Were Leaked ‘

North Carolina Election
Gregory Rec/Portland Press Herald via Getty Images

Late Tuesday the executive director of the North Carolina Republican Party called for a new election in the controversial 9th Congressional District race, “if early voting numbers were leaked.”

Fox 46, which covered the press conference in Raleigh Tuesday afternoon, reported that Dallas Woodhouse, executive director of the North Carolina Republican Party, said “that it is ‘pretty certain’ that early voting numbers were leaked.”:

“Fundamental fairness in our election is a key to our democracy and is key to voters in the 9th district,” Woodhouse said. “If early voting numbers were leaked, a new election is appropriate.”

Woodhouse went on to say that with all the chaos from Bladen County, state election officials must overtake operations if there is a special election.

“This is crushing, more than you can ever understand, to the people in the Republican party who did this the right way,” Woodhouse said. “This is a devastating situation for them.”

Woodhouse’s statement was just one of several new developments this week that guarantee the outcome of the November 6 election between Republican Mark Harris and Democrat Dan McCready to represent North Carolina’s 9th Congressional District in the U.S. House of Representatives is no closer to resolution than it was on election day five weeks ago.

The election boards of the eight counties that comprise the district have certified that Harris won the election by 905 votes, but the North Carolina Board of Elections refused to certify the results in a unanimous 9 to 0 vote on November 28, and two days later on November 30 the board voted by a 7 to 2 margin to hold an evidentiary hearing on December 21 to review the results of an investigation by its staff into allegations of election irregularities in Bladen County.

On Monday, NBC reported that the North Carolina State Board of Elections “states that the investigation may not be completed by December 21, “has indicated that it may not be able to conclude its investigation into alleged election fraud in the state by their previously planned deadline of December 21.”

In a letter obtained from a public records request, the board wrote: “The agency’s efforts to finalize its investigation into allegations of fraudulent activity affecting absentee ballots has involved numerous interviews and subpoenas issued to various organizations. Counsel for subpoenaed parties have begun submitting responsive records, but they have uniformly indicated additional time is needed for review and production of additional materials. It may be that their delays in production will lengthen the timeframe initially contemplated by the State Board.”

“Agency staff are working diligently to compile a thorough investigative record on which the State Board will ultimately ensure ‘that an election is determined without taint of fraud or corruption and without irregularities that may have changed the result of an election,’” the board wrote, citing the state’s statute mandating the investigation.

On Saturday, Jens Lutz, a Democrat who serves as vice-chair of the Bladen County Board of Elections, resigned, Fox News reported:

Lutz told WECT-TV he decided to step down after he was made aware that “some in the Democratic Party are not happy” with him.

Bladen County’s absentee ballots are at the center of a fraud probe that prompted the state elections board to refuse to certify Republican Mark Harris as the winner over Democrat Dan McCready in the 9th district election. The board cited allegations of “irregularities and concerted fraudulent activities” involving mail-in ballots.

A few years ago, Lutz started a political consulting firm with McCrae Dowless, who has been dubbed a “person of interest” by the state elections board in the probe. Dowless, a former Democrat, has a criminal record that includes prison time in 1995 for felony fraud and a conviction for felony perjury in 1992.

Bladen County’s absentee ballots are at the center of a fraud probe that prompted the state elections board to refuse to certify Republican Mark Harris as the winner over Democrat Dan McCready in the 9th district election. The board cited allegations of “irregularities and concerted fraudulent activities” involving mail-in ballots.

Joe Bruno of WSOC-TV in Charlotte tweeted out Lutz’s full resignation email:

Due to changes in state law, the current North Carolina State Board of Elections is scheduled to end as a legal body on December 28 or when the 9th Congressional District is certified, whichever comes first.

If the North Carolina State Board of Elections does not certify a winner or order a new election prior to its dissolution on December 28, the U.S. House of Representatives will then have the authority to either call for a new election or certify the winner of the November 6 election.

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