The Latest: Top House Democrat wants fraud claims resolved
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — The Latest on the North Carolina 9th Congressional District race (all times local):
A top House Democrat says North Carolina needs to resolve allegations of voter fraud before Republican Mark Harris can join Congress.
Incoming Majority Leader Rep. Steny Hoyer of Maryland said Tuesday that a “very substantial question” about fraud exists. Unofficial ballot totals show Harris, a Baptist minister, leading Democrat Dan McCready, an Iraq War veteran, by 905 votes. Hoyer says he hopes state officials “get to the bottom” of the controversy. He says Harris is “not eligible for being sworn into the House” at this point.
State election officials have refused to certify the results amid allegations of voter irregularities involving mail-in ballots. The elections board has said it will hold a hearing on the allegations on or before Dec. 21. The board can call for a new election if it finds problems.
Hoyer was discussing whether the House Administration Committee, which has some authority over determining the propriety of elections, will get involved.
1: 15 p.m.
One of the nation’s last unresolved fall congressional races is awash in doubt as North Carolina election investigators concentrate on a rural county where absentee-ballot fraud allegations are so flagrant they’ve put the Election Day result into question.
Final unofficial ballot totals had shown Republican Mark Harris ahead of Democrat Dan McCready by 905 votes in the 9th Congressional District, which covers nine south-central counties.
But the state elections board refused to certify the results last week with all the other Election Day contests, with the board’s new chairman pointing to “claims of numerous irregularities and concerted fraudulent activities” involving mail-in ballots.
The probe appears connected to the activities of a longtime political operative from Bladen County, where allegations about mail-in absentee ballots initially surfaced two years ago.