The North Carolina State Board of Elections voted unanimously Thursday to hold a new election for the 9th Congressional District following an investigation into impropriety involving absentee ballots.
Currently, the North Carolina 9th District race is the last undecided congressional race coming out of the 2018 midterm elections.
Leading up to the Thursday vote to hold a new election, Democratic candidate Dan McCready conceded to Republican candidate Mark Harris on November 7, 2018. In late November, while Harris was in Washington going through orientation and preparing to take office, the North Carolina State Board of Elections delayed finalizing the election results due to claims of fraud concerning absentee ballots pending an investigation.
The investigation focused on McCrae Dowless, an operative hired by the Harris campaign to help with voting efforts in Bladen and Robeson counties who had also been under investigation previously for his methods regarding the 2016 elections.
After four days of evidentiary hearings beginning on February 18, Harris himself called for a new election, saying:
Through the testimony I’ve listened to over the past three days, I believe a new election should be called. It’s become clear to me that the public’s confidence in the 9th District seat general election has been undermined to an extent that a new election is warranted.
Regarding the Board’s decision for a new election, McCready commented on twitter:
From the moment the first vote was stolen in North Carolina, from the moment the first voice was silenced by election fraud, the people have deserved justice. Today was a great step forward for democracy in North Carolina.
North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper also responded on social media:
I thank the Board for unanimously doing the right thing. People must have confidence that their vote matters and this action sends a strong message that election fraud must not be tolerated.
The Board will hold a public hearing to determine when the new election will take place.