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By Erin Smith

The new five member panel of the NC State Board of Elections announced the new date for the evidentiary hearing for the 9th Congressional District. The hearing is set to begin Monday, February 18, 2019, at 10 a.m. and will be conducted at the North Carolina State Bar, located at 217 E. Edenton Street in Raleigh.

Patrick Gannon, a spokesperson with the NC State Board of Elections, said the hearing is expected to last no more than two days, but the board has reserved the meeting space through Wednesday, February 20, 2019. During the hearing, investigators are expected to detail their findings and evidence is expected to be presented.

The NC State Board of Elections declined to certify the results in November 2018 of the 9th Congressional District following allegations of election fraud in Bladen County.  The panel also told the Bladen County Board of Elections not to issue certificates of election in the Bladen County Commissioner District 3 race and the Bladen County Soil and Water District Board race.

According to the unofficial results posted on the NC State Board of Elections website, Republican candidate Mark Harris leads Democratic candidate Dan McCready by 905 votes in the US Congress District 9 race.

An evidentiary hearing that was originally scheduled for December was rescheduled to January 11, 2019. The evidentiary hearing was again postponed after a three-judge panel voted to dissolve the nine-member panel of the North Carolina State Board of Elections on December 28, 2018.

In January, Wake County Superior Court Judge Paul Ridgeway rejected Republican Mark Harris’ lawsuit against the North Carolina State Board of Elections, according to reports. Neither Harris nor Democratic candidate Dan McCready attended the hearing.

The US Committee on House Administration has contacted the North Carolina State Board of Elections about the possibility of stepping in with regard to the investigation. A letter was sent to NC State Board of Elections Director Kimberly Strach in January seeking notes and other investigative materials pertaining to the investigation.