NC officials vote to hold hearing over alleged fraud in U.S. House race

The North Carolina Board of Elections voted Friday to hold a hearing as state officials continue to investigate fraud allegations related to the U.S. House race in the state's 9th District.

North Carolina election officials voted 7-2 to hold a public hearing by Dec. 21, according to WSOC-TV in Charlotte. The investigation will likely delay the certification of the House results, where Republican pastor Mark HarrisMark HarrisHillicon Valley: Intelligence agency gathers US smartphone location data without warrants, memo says | Democrats seek answers on impact of Russian hack on DOJ, courts | Airbnb offers Biden administration help with vaccine distribution Trump sparks debate over merits of voting by mail The Hill's Campaign Report: Debate over mail-in voting heats up MORE holds a 905-vote lead over Democratic veteran and businessman Dan McCready.

The Associated Press already called the race in favor of Harris, who defeated Rep. Robert PittengerRobert Miller PittengerBottom Line North Carolina reporter says there could be 'new crop' of GOP candidates in 9th Congressional District race North Carolina board calls for new election in contested House race MORE in North Carolina’s GOP primary this May. Harris declared victory early Nov. 7, while McCready conceded the race later that day.

The North Carolina Democratic Party released a statement on Friday, applauding “the board’s bipartisan decision to delay certification and fully investigate the concerning allegations.”

Bladen County, N.C., has been at the center of the investigation as voter affidavits submitted to the board of elections alleging instances of people coming to their house and asking to hand in their absentee ballots while leaving some races blank.

Officials investigating the results are also looking into uncommonly high numbers of absentee ballots submitted in Bladen County, according to The Washington Post.

McCready sent a statement Thursday night that had called for a “full public evidentiary hearing.”

“We must do everything we can to protect the integrity of our ballots and sanctity of our elections because our democracy depends on it,” McCready said in a Thursday statement, according to the Post.

In a Thursday interview in Spectrum News, Harris said he’s “fully aware” of the fraud claims.

“It’s been out there. We were fully aware of it. There are some particularly unsavory people, particularly out in Bladen County, and I didn’t have anything to do with them.”