No date for hearing on alleged election irregularities in Bladen Countybladenonline 12/05/2018 0 COMMENTS
By Erin Smith
The NC State Board of Elections and Ethics still has not set a date for an evidentiary hearing regarding alleged irregularities in the US House 9th District race in Bladen County.
In a surprise move last week, after a lengthy closed session, the NC State Board of Elections and Ethics voted 7-2 not to certify the results of the US House District 9 race. As boards and elected officials are sworn in across the state and in Bladen County, the NC State Board of Elections advised the Bladen County Board of Elections on Thursday evening not to issue certificates for the races of Bladen County Commissioner District 3 and Bladen County Soil and Water District.
While the NC State Board of Elections and Ethics has been tight lipped about the investigation, what is known is the investigation is centered around mail-in absentee ballots. When asked exactly how many ballots are in question, Patrick Gannon, a spokesman for the NC State Board of Elections and Ethics said, “We do not know how many ballots are in question. That is part of what the investigation is trying to determine.”
Mark Harris, the Republican candidate and unofficial winner of the US House 9th District race, was in Bladen County for the swearing in ceremonies Monday.
When asked about the State Board of Elections refusal to certify the results of the 9th District race, he said, “We continue to be disappointed. We continue to be frustrated and the State Board of Elections has operated in secrecy. The people of North Carolina and the 9th District deserve transparency.”
He continued, “We haven’t been contacted at all. I understand they said they want to do an evidentiary hearing but we haven’t been told when, we haven’t been told where, we haven’t even been told why they want to do an evidentiary hearing. We’ve heard nothing.”
Allegations have been made that McCrae Dowless, who is a member of the Bladen County Soil and Water Board, was paid for Get Out the Vote efforts by candidates Mark Harris and Bladen County Sheriff Jim McVicker.
According to WBTW in South Carolina, a criminal investigation has been ongoing by Wake County District Attorney Lorrin Freeman and the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation into election issues in Bladen County since January 2017 at the request of Bladen County District Attorney Jon David.
The Bladen County Board of Elections conducted their vote canvass on Friday, November 16th, and certified the results sending them to the NC State Board of Elections. No protests or complaints were filed at the Bladen County Board of Elections nor with the North Carolina State Board of Elections and Ethics.
The US House District 9 includes part or all of Bladen, Cumberland, Robeson, Scotland, Rockingham, Richmond, Anson, Union and Mecklenburg counties.
According to unofficial results published on the NC State Board of Elections, in the US House District 9 race Republican Mark Harris received 139,246 votes, Democrat Dan McCready received 138,341, and Libertarian Jeff Scott received 5,130 votes.
In Bladen County, Harris received 5,413 votes, McCready received 3,856 votes and Scott received 129 votes.
The swearing in ceremony for members of the US House is scheduled for January 3, 2019.Share: