House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi warned she and the Democratic chamber could take the “extraordinary step” of calling for a new election in a North Carolina congressional district if the winner is unclear amid allegations of voter fraud.
Pelosi said Thursday the House “retains the right to decide who is seated.”
She said “any member-elect can object to the seating and the swearing-in of another member elect.”
Officials in North Carolina are investigating voter fraud allegations. Republican Mark Harris leads Democrat Dan McCready by about 900 votes, but results are not certified.
A longtime Democratic operative — turned Republican pollster — was allegedly found illegally paying locals to gather absentee ballots. The operative had full control of these votes, and is suspected of picking and choosing which votes to submit.
For years, Democrats have insisted these types of things don’t happen.
Pelosi is nominated to become House speaker when Democrats take control in January. The House Administration committee has “full investigative authority to determine the winner,” she said.
It’s “bigger than that one seat,” she said, but about the “integrity of elections.”
North Carolina Republican leaders have called for a bipartisan investigation of the election fraud claims.
“In a press conference in Raleigh, three Republican state senators who represent parts of North Carolina’s 9th Congressional District asked Gov. Roy Cooper (D) to create a bipartisan task force to investigate allegations that a contractor working for Republican congressional candidate Mark Harris was illegally urging people to collect voters’ absentee ballots,” The Hill reported.
Leslie McCrae Dowless Jr., a longtime Democratic campaign contractor who switched to work for Harris’ campaign, is the man accused of committing election fraud on behalf of the Republican candidate. Dowless was previously convicted of fraud and perjury in the 1990s.
Several people told WSOC, a local TV station, that Dowless paid them between $50 to $100 to collect voters’ ballots but never mentioned it was highly illegal to do so. They said Dowless had been doing it for years for Democrats, so they didn’t suspect it was a problem.
The Associated Press contributed to this article