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North Carolina voter fraud claims place House race in limbo for Republican Mark Harris

Republican Mark Harris (center) is shown at an October 2018 campaign event for his U.S. House of Representatives race as President Donald Trump and North Carolina's 13th district Rep. Ted Budd, a Republican, look on. (Photo by Sean Rayford/Getty Images)

North Carolina’s board of elections has called for a public hearing to investigate allegations of voter fraud and irregularities instead of certifying Republican Mark Harris’ apparent win a House race, Reuters news reported.

Harris had 905 votes more than Democrat Dan McCready in the Nov. 6 election. But hundreds of mail-in absentee ballots from a rural county are being questioned, the elections board announced Friday on Twitter.

Why is this happening?

Joshua Malcolm, vice chairman of the board of elections, said in a recorded session Friday that the hearing will consider the “claims of numerous irregularities and concerted fraudulent activities related to absentee mail ballots,” The board voted 7-2 to have the hearing.

It’s the second time in as many years that the board has investigated allegations of voter fraud in Bladen County. In 2016, the allegations were ultimately dismissed.

Harris said in a statement that there are not enough ballots in question to impact the outcome of the race. He called on the board to immediately name him as the victor as the investigation continues. The outcome of this race has no impact on the balance of the new Congress in January. Democrats already have enough seats to control the House, and Republicans will still hold a Senate majority.

Harris was on Capitol Hill Friday for its “freshman orientation,” Reuters reported. He “participated in the office lottery and selected a space in the House office buildings,” the report states.

The board of elections will be examining accusations that people came to the doors of Bladen County voters prior to the election to ask them to hand over ballots, which were sometimes “unsealed and uncompleted.” It is illegal to fill out or destroy another person’s ballot. Also under review will be the high numbers of absentee ballots cast in Bladen County for both the general election and the May 8 primary, in saw Harris defeat Republican incumbent congressman Robert Pittenger, according to the report.

Anything else?

The hearing is expected to be held before Dec. 21.

The North Carolina Democratic Party believes there is enough evidence of fraud to call into question the fairness of the election.

“We applaud the board’s bipartisan decision to delay certification and fully investigate the concerning allegations,” Democratic state chairman Wayne Goodwin said in a statement.

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