NC gov appoints new elections board amid probe of disputed House race

NC gov appoints new elections board amid probe of disputed House race

North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper (D) on Thursday appointed a new state elections board that will continue to investigate claims of absentee ballot voting irregularities in the disputed 9th District House race.

Cooper appointed five members — three Democrats and two Republicans — to the new board. Those include Democrats Stella Anderson, Jeff Carmon III and Bob Cordle, as well as Republicans David Black and Ken Raymond.

The new members held a meeting by phone Thursday afternoon, unanimously selecting Cordle as chairman and Anderson as secretary. 

Republican Mark HarrisMark HarrisBevin says he lost because liberals are 'good at harvesting votes' in urban areas The Hill's Campaign Report: Democrats clash over future of party in heated debate Why my American Indian tribe voted Republican in NC's special election MORE leads Democrat Dan McCready by 905 votes, but the old state elections board refused to certify the results amid mounting allegations of an absentee ballot scheme in two rural counties in the district.

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The new elections board is set to hold its public evidentiary hearing about the investigation in February, but an exact date has yet to be scheduled.

On the call, Cordle said the elections board would try to meet next week to schedule the hearing date.

The hearing was initially scheduled for Jan. 11, but was postponed after the elections board was dissolved at the end of December due to a court order.

At the hearing, the state elections board will decide whether to certify Harris as the winner or call a new election, which would trigger both a new primary and general election. But either of those actions require four votes.

The U.S. House of Representatives has the ultimate authority on seating members and could also conduct its own investigation, which could lead to calling for a new election.

“We congratulate the new Board members and look forward to working with them to promote confidence in North Carolina elections,” Kim Westbrook Strach, state board executive director, said in a statement on Thursday. “We thank them for their willingness to serve North Carolina’s voters at this critical time.”

As the state board continued to investigate claims of voting irregularities, Harris and his team filed an emergency petition in court regarding certification of the race.

But a judge in North Carolina denied his request, opting not to order the executive director of the elections board to certify him as the winner, effectively punting the decision back to the North Carolina State Board of Elections.

-- Updated at 3:30 p.m.