North Carolina Officials Had Prior Warnings Of Voting Issues, Report Says

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The midterms are not over in North Carolina's 9th district.

"The House Administration Committee will have full investigative authority to determine the victor of the election", Pelosi added.

The GOP's executive director made the statement Thursday, softening the organization's stance as allegations of absentee ballot fraud mount.

"I didn't serve overseas in the Marine Corps just to come back and watch politicians and career criminals attack our democracy", McCready said. "Today I withdraw my concession and call on Mark Harris to end his silence and tell us exactly what he knew, and when". But U.S. Rep. Steny Hoyer, D-Md., who will become House majority leader when the new Congress convenes in January, has said Democrats will refuse to seat Harris unless and until "substantial" questions about the integrity of the election are resolved.

His announcement Thursday came amid allegations of absentee ballot tampering and other interference in Bladen and Robeson counties that appear to have helped Republican Mark Harris, who is ahead by just 905 votes in unofficial returns.

Investigators are examining whether Leslie McCrae Dowless, a longtime Bladen County operative who worked for a consultant to the Harris campaign, and a group of people loosely connected to him gathered unsealed absentee ballots, marked those ballots for their candidate, sealed them and signed as witnesses.

He recalled concluding that Harris had won the overall vote with a strong showing from evangelical voters, but he said: "We did not look real specifically at absentee ballots". Harris won 61 percent of the mail-in ballots there, even though registered Republicans accounted for 19 percent of the county's accepted absentee ballots.

The State Board of Elections and Ethics Reform has yet to certify the election results officially.

The board is meeting later this month to hear evidence, but it's unclear whether the race will be settled then.

Republican state senators in North Carolina on Thursday demanded a new bipartisan investigation into fraud allegations, casting doubt on the impartiality of the election board.

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"The board needs to have a public hearing and lay out what they have, and unless they meet the standard of a substantial likelihood, numerically, that the outcome of this race was changed or could have been changed, then they need to certify Mark Harris as the victor and prosecute the offenders", said Dallas Woodhouse, executive director of the state Republican Party.

The state elections board is investigating irregularities in mail-in balloting in the 9th District general election - many of them in Bladen County, which had the highest share of mail-in votes in the district, state records show.

At issue is who can handle completed ballots.

The revelations and ensuing national news coverage have put pressure on Republicans and attracted attention from top Democrats.

In the NC-9 race, Republican Mark Harris appeared to have defeated Democrat Dan McCready 138,893 to 137,895 votes (49.3% - 48.9%), but evidence of election fraud have popped up.

"This is bigger than that one seat", Pelosi said.

Dowless worked for Red Dome Group, a GOP political consulting firm that Harris paid more than $400,000. North Carolina law allows only a family member or legal guardian to drop off absentee ballots for a voter.

It was close, but North Carolina Republican Mark Harris was jubilant on election night. They said neither election boards, appointed by governors from both parties, nor prosecutors have adequately addressed recurring issues in Bladen. "Dowless' efforts were widely known, and we did share our concerns with several people", declining to elaborate on who he spoke to or what he said. Dan Bishop said at a press conference with fellow Republicans, according to WRAL-TV in Raleigh. "Should that happen, the law would require a new election, which we will not oppose".

Woodhouse probably won't want to bet on "how that goes" with Pelosi in charge.

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