North Carolina Republicans call for bipartisan probe of fraud in House race
Republican state senators in North Carolina on Thursday demanded a new bipartisan investigation into fraud allegations, casting doubt on the impartiality of the election board.
Accusations of fraud have hung up results in the state’s 9th Congressional District, potentially leaving the outcome in the hands of the incoming House Democratic majority.
“There’s reason to doubt the capacity of the State Board of Elections,” state Sen. Dan Bishop said at a press conference with fellow Republicans, according to WRAL-TV in Raleigh. “Over the course of two or three administrations, they haven’t gotten the job done.”
The Republicans want Gov. Roy Cooper, a Democrat, to appoints an independent bipartisan task force to investigate the fraud allegations.
The governor did not immediately respond.
It is the latest wrinkle in an election mess that left the 9th District as the last undecided House race of 2018.
The state Board of Elections last week declined to certify the tally in the district after the initial count showed Republican Mark Harris beating Democrat Dan McCready by 905 votes out of more than 280,000 cast.
The board collected at least six sworn statements from voters who said people came to their homes and urged them to hand over their absentee ballots.
Reports link the absentee ballot collection, which is illegal in North Carolina, to the Harris campaign.
Mr. Bishop, who represents the district in the state’s General Assembly, said he agreed with the board’s decision not to certify the results.
But he said the board’s composition four Democrats, four Republicans and an unaffiliated member appointed by the governor was “disabling in nature.”
Republican long have argued that the makeup tilts the board toward the governor’s party.
What’s next is unclear. The board could certify the result, call for a special election, or the House could call for a new election.
A local district attorney was already investigating election improprieties from 2016 when the probe expanded to include the 2018 vote.