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Mark Harris, the Republican candidate in North Carolina’s Ninth Congressional District race, fights back tears at the conclusion of his son John Harris’s testimony at a state board hearing on alleged election fraud. Travis Long/The News & Observer via AP
Mark Harris, the Republican candidate in North Carolina’s 9th congressional district race, fights back tears at the conclusion of his son John Harris testimony at a state board hearing on alleged election fraud. Photo: Travis Long/The News & Observer via…

What is happening in North Carolina?

An investigation by the North Carolina State Board of Elections determined the existence of a plan to manipulate votes in the state's 9th congressional…

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While the country focuses on the alleged Russian interference in the 2016 presidential elections, the fragility of elections in the country's interior is becoming increasingly evident.

The mid-term elections were a litmus test, not just for the preeminent political parties, but for the scope of democracy in the country's rural areas which are often overlooked by the political establishment.

Regions such as North Dakota, for example, experienced the sharpest voter suppression in the run-up to the elections, after the Supreme Court maintained a ruling requiring voters to present both ID and a residence certificate in order to vote.

According to complaints from indigenous groups and activist organizations, "the law disproportionately blocks Native Americans at the time of voting."

This is nothing new, however.

The existence of laws such as the Help America Vote Act of 2002 has been replicated at the national level, where more than 33 states now require some type of government-issued photo ID in order to vote.

The effect of this type of protocol was made evident in states like Wisconsin where up to 23,000 voters in heavily Democratic counties were prevented from exercising their vote because of the law.

More serious still was the Trump campaign's assertion of "massive participation of illegal voters" at the national level, which has validated, in one way or another, new Republican tactics at the national level.

The latest example of this has been the scandal in a congressional district in North Carolina.

Over the past week, the State Board of Elections voted in favor of a new election in North Carolina's 9th congressional district, after it was determined that the Republican candidate committed electoral fraud.

The ruling was handed down after hearing testimony against Republican Mark Harris of Charlotte, and the compilation of "voluminous evidence that a political agent had conducted an illegal plan to manipulate absentee ballots," the Washington Post explained.

Harris allegedly hired Leslie McCrae Dowless and his consulting firm to "defraud and obstruct public and legal justice by manipulating absentee ballots to make them appear to have been voted on and executed in accordance with the law," Politico explained.

The result was a victory for Harris over Democratic candidate Dan McCready by fewer than a thousand votes, amid concerns of fraud that led to the investigation and a new call for elections.

Despite the division of opinion between the two parties and the family drama that engulfed the Harris family in court, the reality arrived at was that this: the country's democratic institutions were undermined.

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