RALEIGH, NC (WBTV) - The North Carolina State Board of Elections voted to not certify the results of this year’s election for the 9th Congressional District race at its meeting Tuesday.
The race, between Republican Mark Harris and Democrat Dan McCready was decided by less than 1,000 votes, with Harris winning.
The vote, which was unexpected and came after the board met in a lengthy closed session, was unanimous.
Board members did not provide any specifics as to why they opted to not certify the vote, other than to say there were concerns with fraud or voting irregularities.
“I’m very familiar with unfortunate activities that have been happening down in my part of the state,” Democrat Josh Malcolm, who lives in Robeson County, in southeastern North Carolina, said. “I am not going to turn a blind eye to what took place, to the best of my understanding, which has been ongoing for a number of years.”
The decision was met with skepticism by North Carolina Republican Party Executive Director Dallas Woodhouse on Tuesday night.
“They were not transparent and we think they violated the law," Woodhouse said. "And I believe this issue will be in court sooner rather than later.”
In a Twitter exchange with Woodhouse on Tuesday night, NCSBE Chairman Andy Penry, a Democrat, said Woodhouse “didn’t know what he was talking about.”
Penry pushed back on criticism from Woodhouse regarding the decision to not certify the results of the 9th Congressional District race, noting that the vote was unanimous, meaning it got support from both the Republican and Democratic members of the board.
But Woodhouse said the vote was an attempt to legitimize Harris' win in a close election.
“Mark Harris won this race. And an exiting Board of Elections, just because they think they can, should not try to steal it. And that may be very well be what we’re looking at here," Woodhouse said.
Staff at the NCSBE have, so far, made little information available to support the board’s suggestion of impropriety.