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'Unfortunate activities': State elections board delays certification of NC 9th Congressional District race results

In North Carolina's 9th Congressional District, Republican Mark Harris defeated Democrat Dan McCready by 905 votes, but the state board of elections is refusing to certify those results.

On Tuesday, board vice chairman Joshua Malcolm, a Democrat from Robeson County, N.C., asked that the 9th District race not be certified with North Carolina’s other 12 districts, citing "unfortunate activities," Jim Morrill reports for the Charlotte Observer.

“I’m very familiar with unfortunate activities that have been happening down in my part of the state,” Malcolm said. “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 said North Carolina state law gives the board broad authority to "take any other action necessary 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."

The specific nature of these "unfortunate activities" is unclear. State Republican Party Executive Director Dallas Woodhouse told WSOC-TV's Joe Bruno that the problems stem from Bladen County and predicted the matter would go to court.

Woodhouse also spoke to the Observer, accusing the board of abusing its authority.

“We think they have abused their discretion and violated the statute,” he said. “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 three weeks ago the day after the election.

Bruno reports the state elections board has the authority to call for a new election if five of its nine members determine "irregularities or improprieties occurred to such an extent that they taint the results of the entire election and cast doubt on its fairness."

The election board is composed of four Republicans, four Democrats, and one unaffiliated individual. The decision to delay certification of the election was unanimous.

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