The North Carolina State Board of Elections unanimously ordered a new election in North Carolina's 9th Congressional District on Thursday.
After a series of evidentiary hearings this week, the North Carolina State Board of Elections, a recently-elected bipartisan board, decided with a 5-0 vote to hold a new election in the 9th District in light of the voter fraud accusation against Republican candidate Mark Harris.
Harris beat out Dan McCready, Trinity '05 and a Democrat, in the November general election by less than one thousand votes.
According to a news release, the board will set dates for a new primary election and, if necessary, a second primary, as well as general elections at a subsequent meeting.
Before the vote, David C. Black, member of the North Carolina State Board of Elections, said that by holding the hearing, the board aims to ensure elections are run properly and fairly—despite the alleged voter fraud.
"As we stated before, this did not help the reputation of North Carolina, but we've turned the corner now," he said in a news release.
The board of elections also ordered new elections for Bladen County's District 3 Commissioner and Bladen County's Soil and Water Conservation District Supervisor.
Harris won the initial election, but then evidence surfaced that parts of his campaign team illegally handled absentee ballots by repeatedly completing and collecting them, both of which are illegal in North Carolina.
“It’s become clear to me that the public’s confidence in the 9th District’s general election has been undermined to an extent that a new election is warranted,” Harris said from the witness stand Thursday afternoon, the Washington Post reported.
Harris joined the call for a new election. He maintained that he was unaware of any illegal activities by Leslie McCrae Dowless Jr., one of Harris' campaign contractors, or his workers. Dowless declined to testify at the hearing and he has not been charged with any crimes in relation to the 2018 election, according to the Washington Post.
In the meantime, the 9th Congressional District has no representative in the House.
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