North Carolina election officials want to hold a public hearing into alleged absentee ballot irregularities that could affect a very close congressional district race.

The state elections board voted 7-2 on Friday to hear evidence by Dec. 21 before deciding whether to finalize the result in the 9th Congressional District. The board could ultimately decide to hold a new election.

Totals show Republican Mark Harris leading Democrat Dan McCready by 900 votes. The new session of Congress begins Jan. 3.

Some absentee ballot documents being scrutinized are in Bladen County, partially located in the 9th District.

The board’s public vote came after a three-hour closed door meeting. The makeup of the board holding a hearing could be different, since an unrelated court ruling terminates the current nine-member board next week.