GOP Candidate's Consultant Linked To 2nd County In North Carolina Election Probe

Stacy Holcomb 57 stands in front of his home in Bladenboro N.C. where he says he was approached by a woman during the midterm elections and offered assistance submitting an absentee ballot an occurrence that many in Bladen County have said happened

Entertaining the idea of a new election represents a significant change from last Thursday, when state GOP Chairman Robin Hayes issued a statement saying: 'Democrats are throwing everything, including the kitchen sink, at the wall to try and steal an election.' On Sunday, Hayes said there weren't enough questioned ballots to change the race's outcome, and the next day he accused a Democratic member of the state board of 'score-settling'. In other words, McCrory attributed fraud to the Democratic Party. The U.S. House could also rule on the election outcome.

Then J. Michael Bitzer, a politics professor at Catawba College in Salisbury, published an analysis that found jarring anomalies, particularly in Bladen County, which has a large black population, and Robeson County, which has one of the largest Native-American populations on the East Coast.

Of the 1,300 or so absentee ballot requests Bladen County received, Dowless turned in nearly half of those on behalf of voters. Hours later, the Washington Post reported that Robert Pittenger, the Republican incumbent Harris defeated in May, had noticed irregularities in the primary results and notified GOP officials at the time.

The elections board is investigating, said spokesman Patrick Gannon.

"Which is an extreme burden on the county's residents", Stone said. The board will work with the prosecutor, he said. A North Carolina woman on Tuesday admitted to illegally "harvesting" ballots for a contractor working for Harris' campaign. "Taking possession of one ballot or a thousand ballots is a felony". But of the voters who turned in the absentee ballots, only 19 percent were registered Republicans.

Another claim is that operatives discarded votes from minorities.

"Join me in this fight for the people whose voices were taken from them", he said. "That would also be illegal in every state".

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The North Carolina Board of Elections is slated to hold an open hearing on or before December 21 to discuss the findings of its investigation.

Republican Mark Harris still hopes that the 116th Congress will seat him as the fairly elected representative for North Carolina's Ninth Congressional District.

In Congress, Democrats are considering their options.

Pelosi, who's nominated to become House speaker when Democrats take control in January, said Thursday that 'any member-elect can object to the seating and the swearing-in of another member elect.' She also noted the investigative power of the House to determine race winners.

Jamie Bowers, a spokesman for outgoing District 9 incumbent Rep. Robert Pittenger, said he isn't sure if House leaders can chose a victor in the case of an uncertified race.

State investigators can order a new election if "irregularities or improprieties occurred to such an extent that they taint the results of the entire election and cast doubt on its fairness".

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