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Judge denies petition to certify Republican Mark Harris in NC-9 House race

Judge refuses to confirm winner in NC-9

A judge in Wake County, North Carolina, denied a petition Tuesday that would have certified the results of the disputed 9th Congressional District race, CBS affiliate WBTV in Charlotte reports. The hearing was related to a petition filed by Republican candidate Mark Harris, seeking to have a court order he be certified as the winner of the race.

"Certification is not appropriate until investigation is concluded," the judge said. "The Board of Elections... will be in the best position to deal with the factual issues arising in this petition."

Harris beat Democrat Dan McCready by 905 votes in the November 2018 election. But the North Carolina State Board of Elections had refused to certify the results of the race, citing voting irregularities in Bladen and Robeson Counties. 

Tuesday's ruling sends the matter back to the board of elections, whose members will be appointed on January 31, according to WBTV.

Investigators with the board and, separately, with the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation have been probing allegations of election fraud in the two counties since late November. A consultant who worked for Harris's campaign has been accused of illegally collecting absentee ballots.

Attorneys for Harris filed a petition in early January seeking to have a judge order the 9th District race be certified. That petition has been met with objections from both the McCready campaign and the NCSBE.