The North Carolina State Board of Elections has ordered a new House race after reviewing evidence suggesting the contest between Republican Mark Harris and Democrat Dan McCready was tainted by absentee ballot fraud.
According to NBC News, all five members of the board voted in favor of staging a new election — a move that followed Harris himself said for the first time on Thursday that a new election was warranted.
Harris had testified before the elections board earlier on Thursday, at which time he said he had no knowledge of illegal activity undertaken by political operative Leslie McCrea Dowless on behalf of his campaign.
The pastor-turned-politician issued a statement shortly before the board announced its call for a new election, writing: "Neither I nor any of the leadership of my campaign were aware of or condoned the improper activities that have been testified to in this hearing."
"Through the testimony I listened to over the past three days, I believe a new election should be called,” Harris continued. “It's become clear to me that the public's confidence in the ninth district seat general election has been undermined to an extent that a new election is warranted."
NBC reported that board chairman Bob Cordle said evidence presented showed that the first race “certainly was a tainted election,” pointing to "the corruption, the absolute mess with the absentee ballots, the illegal activities that have occurred there in the election office itself, and with the people involved in the absentee ballots.”