After three weeks of waiting, we thought every U.S. House race in the country was finally decided. No such luck. FiveThirtyEight has uncalled the North Carolina 9th District — an extremely close race that we thought the Republican had won — in light of allegations of voter fraud that, it turns out, may go back to 2016.
On Tuesday, the North Carolina State Board of Elections met with the expectation that it would certify Republican pastor Mark Harris’s apparent 905-vote win over Democratic veteran Dan McCready. But it did not, citing the board’s responsibility “to assure that an election is determined without taint of fraud or corruption and without irregularities that may have changed the result of an election.” Although the state Republican Party objected, all nine members of the board of elections voted to delay the certification. On Friday, there was no sign that the race would be certified anytime soon; the board of elections voted to hold an evidentiary hearing on or before Dec. 21.
The week of the election, investigators began looking into possible absentee-voter fraud in Bladen and Robeson counties, in the 9th District’s less populated eastern end. On Thursday, local media reported on several affidavits submitted by the North Carolina Democratic Party in which voters said that people came to their doors to collect their unsealed absentee ballots. One voter alleged that her ballot was incomplete at the time and that the collector said “she would finish it herself.” Another claimed to have received an absentee ballot that she did not request.
FiveThirtyEight also took a look at absentee-by-mail ballots in the 9th District and found that the absentee statistics and the election results do imply that something unusual happened in absentee-by-mail voting in Bladen County (and, to a lesser extent, Robeson).
Read more at FiveThirtyEight.