Fight over North Carolina race set to drag on for months

A North Carolina House race rocked by allegations of electoral fraud is likely to stay undecided for months, as the state braces for a new election that may not take place until well into 2019.

Republican Mark Harris leads Democrat Dan McCready by 905 votes after the Nov. 6 race, but the North Carolina State Board of Elections (NCSBE) has refused to certify those results as it examines claims of fraud involving absentee ballots in two counties.

Strategists believe the race will likely need to be redone, though it remains unclear if that rare step would be mandated by the state elections board or the U.S. House of Representatives, the ultimate authority on federal elections.

Adding another layer of uncertainty is whether any redo would involve new primaries, in addition to the general election, a prospect that could change both the timing — and the outcome — of a new race.
Gerry Cohen, former special counsel for the North Carolina General Assembly, said a race that involves only a rerun of the general election could happen in the spring, but new primaries could drag the process out out until August 2019, under timeframes that include a 45-day window for military and absentee voting.

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