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The Latest: GOP candidate formally asks for certification

December 28, 2018

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — The Latest on an investigation into ballot fraud allegations in North Carolina (all times local):

11:10 a.m.

A Republican candidate with a slim lead in a contested North Carolina congressional race has issued a last-minute request for the state Elections Board to certify his win.

Mark Harris filed an emergency petition Friday with the state Board of Elections asking for certification before it’s dissolved under a court order at noon. The petition says voters have a right to congressional representation despite an ongoing investigation into ballot fraud allegations.

A three-judge panel ruled Thursday the current elections board should dissolve by noon Friday, previously ruling that its composition was unconstitutional. The court had allowed the elections board to remain in place temporarily because of the election investigation.

A new law with rules governing the formation of a new board won’t take effect until after the scheduled date of a Jan. 11 evidentiary hearing into the contested race. The governor is seeking to appoint a temporary board.

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10:50 a.m.

North Carolina’s governor is trying to move fast to reassemble the disbanding state elections board investigating ballot fraud allegations in a still-unresolved congressional race.

Gov. Roy Cooper on Friday asked the state Democratic and Republican parties to nominate by the end of the day the five members he’ll appoint. Cooper was forced into action after a three-judge state panel on Thursday refused to extend the life of the current nine-member elections board previously declared unconstitutional.

The elections board is investigating reports of potential ballot fraud in the 9th district congressional race and has scheduled a Jan. 11 evidentiary hearing.

Cooper says he plans to appoint five members of the current elections board to serve until the end of next month — beyond the investigation into the congressional race.

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7:30 a.m.

A court ruling threatens to disband the North Carolina board investigating allegations of ballot fraud in a still-unresolved congressional race.

The three-judge state court panel ruled Thursday to allow the state Board of Elections to dissolve Friday, ahead of a scheduled January evidentiary hearing into the 9th district congressional race.

The court previously found the board’s makeup unconstitutional in a protracted legal battle launched after the legislature altered the board in 2016. But the court had allowed the board to remain while it investigates the congressional race. The latest ruling came just after lawmakers enacted a new law to largely restore the board to how it operated before 2016.

It’s not clear how quickly the governor could appoint a board under the new law, or if a higher court could intervene.

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