The Associated Press on Friday retracted its call in North Carolina’s 9th District. The press agency had called the race for Republican Mark Harris on Nov. 9, three days after Election Day, but with state election officials investigating allegations of fraud and delaying the certification of the results, the AP is now treating the race as if it’s proceeded to a recount.
State officials in North Carolina are investigating allegations of fraud in the 9th District, where Harris leads Democrat Mark McCready by less than a thousand votes.
The State Board of Elections and Ethics Enforcement voted Friday to hold a hearing on allegations of fraud before Dec. 21. At issue are irregularities with absentee ballots in Bladen County.
More than 7 percent of registered voters in Bladen County requested absentee ballots, but in most counties it was only 3 percent, according to the Charlotte Observer.
The board had already voted not to certify the result of the election earlier this week because one member of the board raised concerns about “unfortunate activities.” Harris, who unseated Rep. Robert Pittenger in a GOP primary in May, defeated McCready by about 1,500 votes in Bladen County.
In asking for a further delay of certification, the attorney for the state Democratic Party submitted sworn statements from voters in Bladen County who said people came to their doors to collect their absentee ballots and sometimes filled them out for them. There are also allegations that a contractor for the Harris campaign, McCrae Dowless, was behind efforts to collect absentee ballots that had been or would have been cast for McCready.
The state board voted 7-2 to continue investigating fraud allegations. Two of the four Republicans voted against investigating, with all four Democrats and one unaffiliated member supporting the investigation.
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