North Carolina Republican owes money for disputed absentee ballot work

North Carolina candidate paid $428k to consulting firm linked to alleged ballot tampering

But in recent days, with more evidence surfacing of absentee ballot fraud, including the possible destruction of ballots from Democrats, McCready withdrew his concession on Thursday, accusing Harris of knowingly supporting 'criminal activity'.

The Republican chairman of the Robeson County Board of Election does not believe claims of voter fraud in the race for the District 9 seat of the U.S. House will lead to a new election. Unofficial results showed Republican Mark Harris leading McCready by 905 votes in the south-central 9th Congressional District. The candidate, who lost, paid for Dowless' get-out-the-vote efforts and received 98 percent of the absentee ballot vote in the controversial Bladen County.

The controversy has raised the possibility that the N.C. Board of Elections and Ethics Enforcement will call a new election. The board is meeting later this month to hear evidence, but it's unclear whether the race will be settled then.

The state's election officials have delayed certification of the results and are investigating allegations of election fraud in the 9th District having to do with absentee ballots.

"If they can say with a strong degree of certainty that the outcome of the race was changed or there is a substantial likelihood that it could have been, the law requires that there be a new election, and we would not oppose", said Dallas Woodhouse, the executive director of the North Carolina Republican Party, in an interview with NPR.

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Pelosi said such a decision would be preceded by a House Administration Committee investigation.

McCready conceded the race the day after the midterms after not asking for the recount he was entitled to because the margin was so small. And the fact that Harris managed to win a whopping 96% of all Bladen County absentee ballots that actually made it to election officials is a big red flag, too. Since 2012, when Republicans consolidated control over the legislature and governor's mansion, "what we've seen is some of the most comprehensive voting restrictions in the country", said Tomas Lopez, head of Democracy North Carolina, a voter-access organization. As I noted yesterday, the Constitution and the Federal Contested Elections Act of 1969 gives the House a range of options in dealing with such a challenge, including ordering a new election or just flat-out certifying McCready as the victor and seating him instead of Harris.

"The House still retains the right to decide who is seated", said House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi, who expects to be Speaker in the next Congress. One worker came forward, saying that she had been hired to pick up ballots for McCrae Dowless and that those ballots were never mailed. The state is investigating claims that a GOP operative may have manipulated ballots.

Woodhouse defended Harris, calling him a "good man" and said there's "no way he knew about this stuff and sanctioned it". Dan Bishop said at a press conference with fellow Republicans, according to WRAL-TV in Raleigh. 'If we find the irregularities and the vote count being where it is, then (a new election) certainly is an option'.

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