Election fraud hearing postponed; Cooper will not appoint new board, calls lack of GOP support ‘obstruction’

NC elections board probing Bladen County absentee ballot envelopes
NC elections board probing Bladen County absentee ballot envelopes
Published: Jan. 2, 2019 at 7:24 PM EST
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RALEIGH, NC (WECT) - There will be no new state board of elections, at least for the time being, as well as no Jan. 11 hearing into claims of election fraud.

Governor Roy Cooper announced Wednesday afternoon he will not be appointing an interim board, due to lack of support from the North Carolina Republican Party.

In a release, Cooper said Republicans had still not submitted a list of candidates for the two slots the party would hold on the five-member board of elections. Cooper had said he would be appointing a board to fill in until Jan. 31, after a court decision dissolved the nine-member board that had been serving.

Cooper could have appointed three members of the board without a list from Republicans, but in order to keep the process bi-partisan, the statement says Cooper will now leave the five-member board entirely vacant.

“To ensure that the Board remains fair and bipartisan and to make sure all North Carolinians have confidence in its decisions, Governor Cooper has declined to appoint a Board with only three members selected from the names put forward by the Democratic Party,” the statement reads.

Now, the Jan. 11 hearing into claims of absentee ballot irregularities and evidence of election fraud cannot happen, as there will be no board to oversee the meeting.

This, the statement says, is obstruction of the investigation, and will derail attempts to get to the bottom of what happened in the 9th congressional district race.

“All North Carolinians deserve to have confidence in a system of voting that ensures honest and fair elections,” Cooper said. “If politicians and the people they hire are manipulating the system to steal elections, all of us should pull together to get to the bottom of it and stop it — regardless of whether the candidate who finished ahead in a tainted election is a Republican or a Democrat.”

GOP leaders responded Wednesday afternoon, saying they never believed Cooper’s plan for an interim board was legal in the first place.

In turn, Mark Harris, the unofficial winner of the election in question, said he will file a lawsuit Thursday, again demanding to be certified as the winner.

Now, the immediate future of the NC9 appears to be in the hands of the U.S. House of Representatives.

Last week incoming Democratic leaders said they will not seat Harris in congress. Incoming Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi has said the House may conduct its own investigation into the ballot irregularities.

The House has constitutional authority to determine who it seats, but opinions differ on what happens next, especially with the continuing federal government shutdown.

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