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NC Board Of Elections Votes To Hold December Public Hearing On Potential Fraud

Bladen County's board of elections in Elizabethtown.
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The North Carolina Board of Elections voted 7-2 Friday afternoon to hold a public hearing in December on allegations of fraud in Bladen County, casting more uncertainty over the 9th Congressional District race between Democrat Dan McCready and Republican Mark Harris.

Two of the four Republican members on the board — Ken Raymond and John Hemphill — voted no. The other two Republicans on the board, Stacy “Four” Eggers and John Lewis, voted with the Democrats.

The hearing will take place on or before Dec. 21.

On Tuesday, the board voted unanimously to not certify the results of the 9th District after Democratic board member Joshua Malcolm said he would no longer "turn a blind eye" to what he said were "unfortunate activities."

“I move that, in light of claims of numerous irregularities and concerted fraudulent activities related to absentee by mail ballots, and potentially other matters in Congressional District 9, [have] the State Board hold, as then constituted, an evidentiary hearing on or before December 21st,” Malcolm said.

The board's chief investigator, Joan Fleming, has seized absentee ballot by mail requests and return envelopes from Bladen County. The Washington Post has reported that the state also took documents from Robeson County.

The nine-member board met in closed session for three hours. During their brief discussion in open session, they did not mention any problems in Robeson County. They did, however, direct the board of elections in Bladen County not to certify some local races there that could have been impacted by fraud.

Harris is leading McCready by 905 votes. The new Congress will be sworn in Jan. 3, and the board has said this week it's "mindful" of that date.

The North Carolina Democratic Party on Thursday sent the board a letter asking for a public hearing about possible fraud. The party included five affidavits from Bladen residents who said they witnessed wrongdoing.

Steve Harrison is WFAE's politics and government reporter. Prior to joining WFAE, Steve worked at the Charlotte Observer, where he started on the business desk, then covered politics extensively as the Observer’s lead city government reporter. Steve also spent 10 years with the Miami Herald. His work has appeared in The Washington Post, the Sporting News and Sports Illustrated.
Cole del Charco is a journalist, writer and radio producer from Hickory, North Carolina.