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Dates set for new election in 9th District race

NBC Charlotte did some digging on how much this new election is going to cost taxpayers.

RALEIGH, N.C. — The North Carolina State Board of Elections voted 5-0 Thursday for a new election in the 9th District race after reviewing evidence that it was tainted by absentee ballot fraud.

The State Board of Elections met on Monday to set a new election date for the 9th District race. 

The board voted 5-0 for a May 14th special primary date. If a second primary is necessary, it will take place September 10. If not, the general election will be September 10. In the event of a second primary, the general election would take place November 5.

The race between Republican Mark Harris and Democrat Dan McCready was the nation's last undecided congressional race.    

The board will set the date of the election in a future meeting. A new election was also ordered for two local contests in Bladen County.

NBC Charlotte did some digging on how much a new election for the 9th District race is going to cost taxpayers. We know there will be three parts -- the filing period, a primary election, and a general election that experts said could be this summer. 

After crunching the numbers, we determined the new election will cost Mecklenburg County $150,000, Union County $300,000, and Anson County $50,000. 

Harris called for a new election earlier Thursday. He was called to testify about what he knew about an absentee ballot operation during last November's election.  

Following a long recess, Harris re-entered the hearing and released a statement requesting this new election. He admitted to the board that he had battled two strokes as a result of his recent illness. Harris said he struggled with his recollection Thursday morning.  

"It's become clear to me that the public's confidence in the 9th district seat general election has been undermined to an extent that a new election is warranted," Harris said.  

Late Thursday afternoon, North Carolina Republican Party Chairman Robin Hayes released a statement.

"We respect Dr. Harris' decision on behalf of the voters. This has been a tremendously difficult situation for all involved and we wish him the best as he recovers from his illness and subsequent complications. We will continue to work with legislators and investigators on how we can improve the electoral system so that these kinds of situations can be avoided in the future. The people of North Carolina deserve nothing less than the full confidence and trust in the electoral system. We'd like to thank the hard-working staff and members of the North Carolina State Board of Elections for their professionalism and dedication in this investigation."

McCready responded to the board's vote Thursday afternoon on Twitter.

"From the moment the first vote was stolen in North Carolina, from the moment the first voice was silenced by election fraud, the people have deserved justice. Today was a great step forward for democracy in North Carolina," the tweet read.

The McCready campaign also told NBC Charlotte to expect a news conference on Friday.

Harris was the apparent winner of North Carolina's 9th District race, but the results were never certified because of allegations of absentee ballot tampering.

RELATED: Mark Harris' son provides powerful testimony in 9th District hearing

RELATED: 'I prayed on it' | Mark Harris testifies in 9th District hearing

A new NBC News analysis of raw state election data found that 3,510 absentee ballots requested district-wide were never turned in, and no vote was counted for those individuals by any other method. For Bladen County alone, that number was 472.

Affidavits released to the public revealed allegations from voters that their ballots were illegally collected and, in some cases, tampered or thrown out. Harris won by 1,557 votes in Bladen County and 61 percent of absentee ballots were cast in his favor, even though just 19 percent were requested by Republican voters.

In addition to the arrest of McCrae Dowless, Caitlyn Croom was arrested Sunday, March 3 around 11:30 a.m. in New Hanover County. She was charged with conspiracy to commit felony obstruction of justice and possession of absentee ballot.

RELATED: McCrae Dowless indicted on charges related to 9th District election fraud

Stay with NBC Charlotte for the latest on this developing story. 

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