The certification of a tight congressional race in the North Carolina has been delayed so that election officials can investigate allegations of voter fraud. Republican Mark Harris is leading the Democratic candidate, Dan McCready, by just 905 votes. The state elections board voted unanimously to hold off on certifying the election Friday, as initially planned, and seven of the nine board members voted to move forward with an investigation.
The allegations concern a number of irregularities with mail-in ballots in Bladen and Robeson Counties, and elections officials have begun collecting affidavits from residents who recalled being approached by people in the lead-up to the election who claimed to be collecting mail-in ballots. The North Carolina State Board of Elections chairman, Democrat Andy Penry, resigned Saturday so that the investigation could continue without “attempts at distraction and obstruction” after concerns were raised by Republicans about Pendry’s tweets, some of which criticized President Trump.
In Texas, an appeals court on Wednesday upheld a prison sentence for a legal permanent resident in the state who voted illegally because she thought having a green card made her eligible to vote. Rosa Maria Ortega was sentenced to eight years in prison, and will likely be deported after that.
Texas also saw more action in the litigation over legislative maps that the statehouse drew after the 2010 Census. The case has already been up to the Supreme Court twice, where the justices have ruled generally in favor of Texas while lower courts have on multiple occasions found that the map intentionally sought to disenfranchise minority voters. On Friday, the groups suing Texas filed briefs arguing the state should be placed under so-called “preclearance,” the process, under the Voting Rights Act, under which certain states and jurisdictions with a history of racially discriminatory voting practices must get federal approval for changes to their election policies.
A voting rights group connected to Stacey Abrams, the failed Democratic candidate for governor in Georgia, filed a lawsuit last week seeking to overturn the state’s restrictive voting laws. Fair Fight Action is targeting an assortment of tactics — from voter purges, to outdated voter registration records, to the closure of polling places — that make it harder for Georgians, and particularly Georgians of color, to vote. Abrams lost to Secretary of State Brian Kemp, who championed many of those laws, by a margin that was just above what would have triggered a run-off, which is required in the state when no candidate in a race gets 50 percent.
The trial in New York over the Trump administration’s efforts to add a census citizenship question came to a close last week, but not without the Justice Department trying one more time to get the judge to delay issuing a ruling in the case before the Supreme Court in February hears arguments over a discovery issue. The Justice Department last Monday evening filed an extraordinary letter “suggest[ing]” the Supreme Court “reconsider” delaying the judge’s post-trial proceedings. The Supreme Court has previously declined to delay the proceedings, with the exception of the Wilbur Ross deposition. Because this letter was not a formal motion, the Supreme Court might choose not to respond at all.
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