A Superior Court judge in North Carolina has set a hearing in a lawsuit filed by Republican candidate Mark Harris asking the court to force the State Board of Elections to certify the results of the state’s 9th Congressional District election — before the board completes its investigation into potential fraud in the race. The hearing is set for January 22. There is still no clear resolution to the controversy over the results in North Carolina’s 9th District more than two months after Election Day. Harris leads the race by 905 votes over Democrat Dan McCready, but there are serious questions surrounding an absentee ballot operation led by a political consultant he hired.
In court filings Monday, Harris’ campaign argued that the board has had more than ample opportunity to conduct its investigation and release its findings. The campaign claims the delay has led to a disenfranchisement of some 700,000 constituents in the 9th District, who are currently without a representative.
The board had been set to hold an evidentiary hearing January 11 to go over the evidence collected in the case, but in a surprise ruling at the end of December a court ordered the board to dissolve as part of a legal battle over its composition. A prior decision had ruled the board unconstitutional, but the same court gave the board a temporary reprieve till December 28 to complete the investigation. The board’s inability to reach a conclusion before it dissolved gave Harris and other North Carolina Republicans an opening to claim he should be seated.