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Elections Board Responds To Harris Campaign: We Don't Need Formal Protest To Investigate

Mark Harris For Congress / Dan McCready For Congress
The N.C. Board of Elections said in a court filing Monday that it can't declare Mark Harris (left) the winner in the 9th Congressional District over Dan McCready until a new board is seated Jan. 31.

The North Carolina Board of Elections staff and the Dan McCready campaign filed motions Monday in response to Republican Mark Harris' demand that he is declared the winner in the 9th Congressional District immediately.

Harris has filed a motion in Wake County Superior Court for elections board executive director Kim Strach to declare him the winner, even as an investigation into possible absentee mail vote fraud continues.

Harris is currently leading McCready by 905 votes in the race. The elections board - which has been dissolved by a court order - has twice refused to certify him as the winner.

There is no appointed elections board at the moment. But its staff members are continuing their investigation, and they responded to the Harris campaign's motion.

The elections board said that Strach does not have the legal authority to declare Harris the winner - only the appointed board can do that.

"Consequently....this court would effectively compel Executive Director Strach to commit an act that not only surpasses the parameters of her legal authority, but further, to commit this act in defiance of the General Assembly's legislative mandate," the state's filing said.

The Harris campaign also said that the race should be certified since there was no formal protest by a citizen or campaign. But the elections board said that it can call for an investigation on its own.

Harris has also said that the investigation can continue even after he is declared the winner and goes to Washington D.C.

But he said that once he is certified the winner, the state can't reverse that - no matter what the investigation turns up.

The McCready campaign, in a separate filing, said the race shouldn't be certified until the investigation is finished. The new board will be sworn in Jan. 31.

A new court date hasn't been set in the case.

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.