Chairman resigns from NC Board of Elections amid voter fraud investigation

Updated: Dec. 1, 2018 at 9:21 PM EST
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RALEIGH, NC (WBTV) - Andy Penry, Chairman of the North Carolina Board of Elections and Ethics Enforcement, resigned Saturday amid an ongoing investigation into alleged voter fraud in the 9th Congressional District election.

Penry resigned following a complaint filed by the North Carolina GOP regarding Penry’s partisan statements.

He appears to be stepping down to avoid being a distraction during a very serious investigation into concerns of fraud or voting irregularities in the North Carolina 9th Congressional District race.

The North Carolina State Board of Elections voted to not certify the results of the 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.

On Tuesday, Penry commented on the decision to not certify the results of the 9th Congressional District race. He noted that the vote was unanimous, meaning it got support from both the Republican and Democratic members of the board.

The NCSBOE held a meeting on Friday morning. The board went into a closed session immediately following the start of the meeting, and remained in closed session for just under three hours.

When the board reconvened in open session, committee member Josh Malcolm made a motion to hold an evidentiary hearing in the race.

I move that in light of claims of numerous irregularities and concerted fraudulent activities related to absentees by mail ballots and potentially other matters in congressional district 9, the state board hold a then constituted, an evidentiary hearing on or before December 21 pursuant to its authority under North Carolina General Statute 163A-1180 and 1181 to assure that the election is determined without taint of fraud or corruption and without irregularities that may have changed the result of the election.

The motion passed 7-2.

Republican Mark Harris finished the race with a 905 vote margin of victory over Democrat Dan McCready.

Citing evidence of voting irregularities in Bladen and Robeson counties, the NCSBOE voted unanimously not to certify the results until an investigation could be completed.

The state board consists of 4 Republicans, 4 Democrats, and one unaffiliated member.

North Carolina’s Board of Elections does have the power to conduct investigations and to subpoena witnesses, and can hold off on certifying the results until the investigation is complete.

The new congress is scheduled to be seated on January 3, 2019.

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