Republican Mark Harris petitioned a judge to declare him the winner of North Carolina’s 9th Congressional District election, but his efforts were rebuffed this week when Superior Court Judge Paul Ridgeway denied Harris' motion for a writ of mandamus.
WRAL reported that Ridgeway said the incoming State Board of Elections may hold off on certifying the election results until the investigation into potential absentee ballot fraud has reached completion.
"Nothing about today’s court hearing changes the fact that Congressman-Elect Dr. Mark Harris won the election. He received more legal votes and no public evidence has shown the outcome is in doubt," North Carolina Republican Party Chairman Robin Hayes said in a statement.
Harris led Democrat Dan McCready by about 900 votes following the election, but the state board has refused to certify that because of suspicious absentee voting results in Bladen and Robeson counties.
Alex Dale, Harris’ attorney, argued that state law requires an election be certified within 10 days of any protest, also saying the board didn’t follow the rules for protest in the first place.
He further suggested that the investigation can continue as Harris serves in Congress.
But Special Deputy Attorney General Amar Majmundar said the board would have no recourse if it certifies Harris the winner and fraud is eventually proved.
"There is no claw-back provision," he said. "Once this election is certified, the board is without authority to conduct any remedial action."