With the State Board of Elections and Ethics Enforcement disbanded as of noon Friday under a court order, Gov. Roy Cooper said he would appoint an interim board to continue investigating allegations of election fraud in the 9th Congressional District race until a new law kicks in at the end of January. But state Republican leaders are balking at that plan, insisting that Mark Harris be declared the winner of the 9th District race despite the investigation. “The investigation as indicated by this particular board of elections is over,” said Dallas Woodhouse, executive director of the North Carolina Republican Party. “There might be – and we hope there are – continuing to be criminal investigations for anybody that’s done anything, but this board has failed to act. They have now expired. Mr. Harris should be seated.”
The stakes of the showdown and the chaos surrounding the 9th District race have been ratcheted up as the Jan. 3 date for the new Congress to be seated approaches.
Harris leads Democrat Dan McCready by about 900 votes in the race, but state officials are investigating irregularities in absentee voting in Bladen and Robeson counties at the east end of the district. A political operative hired by the Harris campaign is accused of sending people door to door to collect absentee ballots, which is illegal.