By Emery B. Dalesio, AP
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — North Carolina’s elections board Thursday ordered a new election in the nation’s last undecided congressional race after the Republican candidate conceded his lead was tainted by evidence of ballot-tampering by political operatives working for him.
The State Board of Elections voted 5-0 in favor of a do-over in the mostly rural 9th Congressional District but did not immediately set a date.
In moving to order a new election, board chairman Bob Cordle cited “the corruption, the absolute mess with the absentee ballots.”
The board action came after GOP candidate Mark Harris, in a surprising turn, dropped his bid to be declared the winner and instead called for a new election. He reversed course on the fourth day of a board hearing at which investigators and witnesses detailed evidence of ballot fraud by operatives on his payroll.
At the same time, Harris denied any knowledge of the illegal practices allegedly used by those working on his behalf.
Harris left the hearing room without answering questions. It was not immediately clear whether he intends to run in a new election.
The Democrat in the race, Dan McCready, hailed the board decision as “a great step forward for democracy in North Carolina.”
“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,” McCready, the Harvard-educated founder of a solar energy company, said in a statement.
Read the full story on the Associated Press website.