Politics & Government

A timeline of the 9th district election fraud investigation

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Election fraud investigation

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North Carolina’s elections board will meet Monday and Tuesday in Raleigh to decide the fate of a disputed election for U.S. House. Republican Mark Harris is asking the board to certify the results and send him to Congress — where the 9th district has been without a representative since January. His opponent, Democrat Dan McCready, wants the board to call for a new election, citing alleged absentee-ballot fraud.

Here’s a rundown of how we got here.

* May 8, 2018: Harris narrowly defeats incumbent Rep. Robert Pittenger in the GOP primary in the 9th Congressional District. Harris wins 437 mail-in absentee votes in Bladen County. Pittenger wins 17.

• Nov. 6, 2018: Harris wins an apparent victory over McCready in the general election, a bright spot for Republicans on a night when Democrats claim the U.S. House. Harris leads by 905 in unofficial results.

• Nov. 27, 2018: In a surprising move, the nine-member state board votes unanimously not to certify the results in the 9th district. Four Republicans join with five Democrats. Joshua Malcom, a Democrat from Pembroke and the board’s vice-chairman at the time, says: “I’m very familiar with unfortunate activities that have been happening down in my part of the state.”

• Nov. 30, 2018: The state board of elections again declines to certify the results of the election in a 7-2 vote. Two Republicans vote with the majority.

• Dec 28, 2018: A three-judge panel disbands the nine-member state board of elections as the result of an unrelated legal challenge. A hearing on the 9th district scheduled for Jan. 11 is canceled as a result. A new board will not be formed until Jan. 31, in accordance with state law.

• Jan. 3, 2019: The new Congress is sworn in in Washington, D.C., without a representative from the 9th district.

• Jan. 22, 2019: Wake County Superior Court judge Paul Ridgeway denies Harris’ attempt to make the board certify his victory.

• Jan. 31, 2019: Gov. Roy Cooper appoints five members (three Democrats and two Republicans) to the new state board of elections. The board elects Democrat Bob Cordle as its chairman.

• Feb. 7, 2019: The new board holds its first in-person meeting. In a closed-door session, it gets a look at the evidence uncovered by state board staff.

• Feb. 18-19, 2019: The board will hold a hearing on the 9th district and expects to vote at its conclusion.

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Brian Murphy covers North Carolina’s congressional delegation and state issues from Washington, D.C., for The News & Observer, The Charlotte Observer and The Herald-Sun. He grew up in Cary and graduated from UNC-Chapel Hill. He previously worked for news organizations in Georgia, Idaho and Virginia. Reach him at 202.383.6089 or bmurphy@mcclatchydc.com.