RALEIGH – The evidence of unethical and illegal vote farming practices in North Carolina’s 9th Congressional District has been piling up, leading many to suggest a new election is warranted. At first that looked like a high bar to clear – how many votes were ultimately affected in the scams? Would it change the result of the race? – but now it appears very likely after recent revelations related to leaked vote totals.
An affidavit written by a county precinct worker, and released by Democrats, charges that the Bladen County election workers counted early votes before election day and allowed outsiders to view those totals. Both actions would be a clear violation of state election rules. According to the State Board of Elections, a report was run on November 3, 2018 to tabulate totals at the county’s only early voting site.
The news sends the 9th District chaos into overdrive, and is leading the NCGOP itself to call for a new election.
New: NCGOP Exec. Director @DallasWoodhouse tells me Party will call for a new #nc09 election based on affidavit (submitted by NCDP) that early voting totals were run before Election Day. Standby for more details on that. Says NCSBE should take over Bladen BOE #ncpol
— Nick Ochsner (@NickOchsnerWBTV) December 11, 2018
Legislation unveiled and explained by Republican state lawmakers on Tuesday will revert the State Board of Elections back to its form previous to 2017, giving Gov. Roy Cooper full control of the body. More importantly for the new election matter, however, the legislation requires a primary election be held should the Board call for a new election in the 9th District.
That way Republicans are not saddled with a tainted candidate in Mark Harris, but can field more credible candidates to run for the important congressional seat.
So who will be on that list of possible new primary contenders? Incumbent Congressman Robert Pittenger is very likely to be on it, but the others could be more surprising.