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State Elections Board Certifies 9th District GOP Primary Results

RALEIGH – The State Board of Elections on Thursday certified results in the Republican primary in the 9th Congressional District. Dan Bishop won with 47.68% of the votes.

Bishop will face Democrat Dan McCready, Green Party candidate Allen Smith and Libertarian Jeff Scott in the general election on Sept. 10 for the U.S. House seat. The district includes portions of Bladen among its eight counties.

Bishop had 473 votes, or 45.13 percent, in Bladen County. Stony Rushing was second with 370, or 35.31 percent.

The special election held May 14 was ordered by the state Board in February after a four-day evidentiary hearing showed a “coordinated, unlawful and substantially resourced absentee ballot scheme” operated during the 2018 general election in Bladen and Robeson counties.

The focus of the state probe was the U.S. House District 9 race, where Republican Mark Harris had narrowly defeated McCready in unofficial returns in November. The state Board’s ruling overturned those results along with two races in Bladen County.

The two Bladen races were certified earlier. Democrat incumbent Russell Priest defeated Republican challenger Wayne Edge by four votes for the District 3 seat on the Board of Commissioners. Earl Storms and Charles Wendell Gillespie won election to be a Bladen Soil and Water Conservation District supervisor.

In other action Thursday, the state Board postponed a decision on whether to certify three new voting systems for use in North Carolina elections.

Instead, the five-member Board voted unanimously to require each vendor, by noon on June 21, to disclose any owners or shareholders with a 5 percent or greater interest or share in the company, any subsidiary companies and the vendor’s parent company.

“We want to ensure that the Board has all necessary information before making the very important decision about voting equipment that will be used in future North Carolina elections,” said Karen Brinson Bell, State Board executive director. “We also want to give voters more time to learn about the vendors and products seeking certification.”

The three vendors and systems under consideration for certification are:

• Clear Ballot: ClearVote 1.4

• Election Systems & Software (ES&S): EVS

• Hart InterCivic: Verity Voting 2.2

The approval of new voting systems would empower the 100 county boards of elections to choose what equipment best serves their voters in 2020 and beyond. New systems would give the counties options when replacing aging voting machines, some of which are more than a decade old.

Even if ultimately certified, the voting systems vendors and the state and county boards of elections still must comply with many requirements of the law and North Carolina’s Voting Systems Certification Program before any county boards may purchase the equipment.

For voters, public demonstrations of any new voting equipment would be held in various locations in the coming months. Information about each voting system also will be available on the State Board website.

Currently, ES&S is the only certified voting systems vendor in North Carolina.

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