Undecided North Carolina congressional race may be headed for redo

A contested congressional race in North Carolina reportedly could be headed for a do-over if a state elections board decides to declare the results of November's contest invalid.

State elections chief Kim Strach on Monday said “a coordinated, unlawful and substantially resourced absentee ballot scheme” benefited Republican Mark HarrisMark HarrisTrump sparks debate over merits of voting by mail The Hill's Campaign Report: Debate over mail-in voting heats up Bevin says he lost because liberals are 'good at harvesting votes' in urban areas MORE's campaign.

The remarks came on the first day of a hearing into whether Leslie McCrae Dowless Jr., a North Carolina political operative, ran an illegal ballot-harvesting operation in the state that gathered absentee ballots and filled out empty portions to favor Republicans, according to The Associated Press.


Lisa Britt, a woman who says she worked for Dowless during the election, testified that Dowless had directed her to gather filled and unfilled absentee ballots from across two counties and return them to him, according to the AP. Such a practice is illegal in North Carolina, where only close family members or guardians may lawfully handle a person's absentee ballot.

“I think Mr. Harris was completely clueless as to what was going on,” Britt added, according to the AP.

Officials on the state elections board, made up of three Democrats and two Republicans, will vote on whether to certify the results of the race, effectively declaring Harris the winner due to a small vote lead over Democrat Dan McCready, or whether to declare the race tainted and call a new election.

Democrats have threatened to send the evidence in the case to House authorities if North Carolina does not act to call a new election, as the Democratic-controlled House could in theory refuse to seat Harris among its members.