New Election in 9th District? Dems Hold Out Hope

From the Charlotte Observer:

“North Carolina has held special elections to fill vacant congressional seats when, say, a member has resigned. But, if the State Board of Elections and Ethics Enforcement calls for a new election for the 9th Congressional District, it will apparently be the first time in N.C. history that alleged fraud has caused voters to go to the polls a second time to decide the same congressional race.

Fraud has caused some rematches in local elections in the state, said Gerry Cohen, who drafted election laws during his 37 years — 1977 to 2014 — as special counsel for the N.C. General Assembly. But, he said, this would “absolutely be the first time for a congressional election.”

“This is a new chapter in North Carolina politics,” agreed Michael Bitzer, a political scientist from Catawba College.

The nine-member state board has twice declined to certify the results of last month’s election to fill the seat of U.S. Rep. Robert Pittenger, R-N.C. He was defeated in the GOP primary by Mark Harris, who went on to beat Democrat Dan McCready by 905 votes.

McCready conceded the day after the Nov. 6 election.

But the elections board recently voted 7-2 to hold an evidentiary hearing this month due to “claims of numerous irregularities and concerted fraudulent activities related to absentee mail ballots,” according to Joshua Malcolm, who was bumped from the board’s vice chair to its chairman by Gov. Roy Cooper, a Democrat, on Monday.

N.C. Republicans have called on the board to declare Harris the winner.

But on Tuesday, U.S. Rep. Steny Hoyer, D-Md., who will be the House Majority leader in the next Congress, told reporters in Washington that Democrats may refuse to seat Harris unless and until “substantial” questions about the integrity of the election are resolved, according to a report by the Washington Post.”

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