Amid credible allegations of election fraud in North Carolina, Democratic leaders announced Friday they will not seat Republican Mark Harris, who ran in the state’s 9th Congressional District, and will instead leave the House seat vacant.
“Given the now well-documented election fraud that took place in NC-09, Democrats would object to any attempt by [Mark] Harris to be seated on January 3,” incoming House Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer (D-Md.) said in a statement to The Washington Post. “In this instance, the integrity of our democratic process outweighs concerns about the seat being vacant at the start of the new Congress.”
The announcement comes the day North Carolina dissolved its elections board without certifying the November elections results and just days before the start of the new Congress.
Evidence of election fraud swaying the vote in favor of Harris has mounted in the weeks since the election. Most of it suggests that McCrae Dowless, an operative working on behalf of the Harris campaign, improperly collected absentee ballots from voters in the district’s Bladen and Robeson counties, which both saw an unusually high number of absentee ballots that went unreturned to state officials.
Most recently, Bladen County’s former elections board vice chair gave a sworn statement that his office received “several” forged request forms for absentee ballots during last month’s election.
The state’s GOP has pushed back on the allegations. Dallas Woodhouse, the executive director of the North Carolina Republican Party, hinted to CNN on Friday that the state GOP may seek legal action against the state elections board for not certifying Harris’ victory.
This article has been updated with remarks from the North Carolina Republican Party.