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Republican Mark Harris calls for results to be certified, board declines

The State Board of Elections declined to certified the Ninth District election before it went out of business.

Republican Mark Harris filed a motion asking the State Board of Elections to certify the results of last month’s Ninth District election before the Board was scheduled to go out of business. 

The Board declined with Board Chairman Joshua Malcolm saying in a letter to Harris’s attorney that Harris has yet to turn over 140,000 documents related to the election and had balked at personal interview with the Board.

Malcolm wrote, “Staff at the agency have made several attempts to schedule an interview with your client.”

The Board continued to function Friday despite a judicial order shutting it down. 

It is unclear, however if a hearing scheduled for January 11th will go on as planned.

The hearing has been called to look into allegations of absentee ballot tampering in Bladen and Robeson counties.

A political operative hired by the Harris campaign, Leslie McCrea Dowless is a central figure in the Board investigation.

Harris' campaign released a statement saying in part "Dr. Harris and his Campaign Committee have cooperated fully with the investigation. Their cooperation has been extremely time intensive especially considering the expedited compliance schedules that have been set up by the State Board during the Holiday Season." 

In the hope of keeping the investigation alive, Governor Roy Cooper said he will now appoint temporary Board members, saying in a statement, “Because of the complicated nature and importance of the decisions concerning the Ninth Congressional District election, I plan to appoint a five-member subset of the current board.”

Political science professor Dr. Michael Bitzer from Catawba College said he had no seen anything like what is currently going on in the Ninth District.

Said Bitzer, “I just think we are in a kind of no man’s land at this particular point for the next thirty days as to who has power, who has authority and where does all this go.”

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