Alleged Election Fraud May Leave One Congressional Seat Empty When The New Congress Is Sworn In

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Posted: Dec 30, 2018 5:25 PM
Alleged Election Fraud May Leave One Congressional Seat Empty When The New Congress Is Sworn In

As the new Congress gets ready to take descend upon Washington, D.C. later this week, it is appearing likely that North Carolina's 9th Congressional District will not have a representative. Incoming House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer said Democrats refuse to seat Republican Mark Harris come Jan. 3. 

"In this instance, the integrity of our democratic process outweighs concerns about the seat being vacant at the start of the new Congress," Hoyer said in a statement.

Here's where things get murky. 

Harris filed an emergency petition on Friday, asking for a state election board to declare him the winner but they refused.

From Fox News:

The state elections board has refused to certify the race between Harris and Democrat Dan McCready while it investigates absentee ballot irregularities in the congressional district stretching from the Charlotte area through several counties to the east.

Harris holds a slim lead in unofficial results, but officials are looking into criminal voter fraud allegations against an operative hired by the Harris campaign.

The accusations highlight the wildly varying state laws governing ballot harvesting, which refers to the practice of someone other than a voter dropping off that voter's ballot at a polling station. In North Carolina, state law still prohibits anyone other than a voter or a close family member from mailing in or dropping off that voter's ballot.

Amid the chaos over the 9th district race, a three-judge state court panel ruled Thursday that the current board should disband at noon Friday.

The court order was unrelated to the disputed election: the state court had previously found the elections board’s makeup unconstitutional in a protracted legal battle launched when the Republican-controlled legislature altered the board in 2016.

Gov. Roy Cooper (D) plans to appoint an interim Board of Elections to decide the outcome of the election. If that board is put in place, they would fill the gap"until a new law governing the statewide elections panel can take effect." 

North Carolina Republican Party chairman Robin Hayes said the move is illegal and no members of the GOP would take part in Cooper's plan.