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Judge won't certify North Carolina congressional race as fraud investigation continues

Nearly three months after the election, there is no official winner

Sean Rayford/Getty Images

Residents of North Carolina's 9th Congressional District still don't know who will represent them in the House of Representatives months after Election Day after a judge refused to certify the results of a race tainted by alleged election fraud, CNN reported.

Republican Mark Harris, who led Democrat Dan McCready by 905 votes once the count was complete, had requested that the results be certified. Judge Paul Ridgeway, however, declined to involve the judicial branch in the electoral process.

"Why are we looking at a dramatic intervention of one branch of government into another branch of government?" Ridgeway asked Tuesday.

The backstory

The election hasn't been certified because of numerous reports and evidence that a political operative working for Harris's campaign illegally collected absentee ballots.

A group of people working with the operative served as witnesses to an unusual number of absentee ballots that they collected, leading to suspicions that not all ballots made it to the Board of Elections.

What does the judge want to happen?

The previous Board of Elections dissolved in December 2018 without having certified the election, but a new board should be appointed by Gov. Roy Cooper within the next few weeks. At that point, the new board can review the evidence and decide to either certify the results or call for an entirely new election.

"We look forward to providing a full accounting of what transpired once a Board is seated," said Kim Strach, the executive director of the elections board. "Public confidence in our elections system demands it."

What do the candidates say?

McCready has accused Harris of trying to obstruct the investigation into potential election fraud.

"Mark Harris and his allies promised to support a complete investigation into this attack on our democracy," McCready said in a statement. "He has now broken this promise and is instead doing all he can to obstruct this bipartisan investigation into the illegal election activities within his own campaign."

Harris denies any knowledge of wrongdoing that could have changed the election result, saying the campaign "is not aware of irregularities or other concerns sufficient in number to change the outcome of the election in the 9th district."

One last thing…
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