North Carolina GOP director open to new election in disputed House race

Pauline Gross
December 9, 2018

In affidavits offered by the state Democratic Party, voters described a woman coming to their homes to collect their absentee ballots, whether or not they had been completed properly.

It's 'bigger than that one seat, ' she said, pointing to the overall 'integrity of elections'.

"It's expensive and logistically tough to have a new election in the 9th District", Steve Stone said.

An operative working on behalf of Harris' campaign is the focus of an investigation by state election officials and law enforcement.

She said "any member-elect can object to the seating and the swearing-in of another member elect".

LUMBERTON, N.C. ― McCrae Dowless, the political operative at the center of an election fraud investigation in North Carolina's 9th Congressional District, now appears to be connected to both counties in the district where a suspiciously high number of absentee ballots were never returned to election officials.

U.S. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi told reporters Thursday that Republicans should be concerned as well, because Dowless also operated in the GOP primary, and the allegations have significance beyond North Carolina.

Allegations of flagrant absentee ballot fraud in a North Carolina district have thrown the Election Day results of one of the nation's last unresolved midterm congressional races into question. Dowless has worked on campaigns in Bladen County for decades, The Post reported.

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They point to unusual outcomes in the mail-in ballot totals in previous elections that appeared to benefit Democrats or Republicans, depending on the race and the year. As I noted yesterday, the Constitution and the Federal Contested Elections Act of 1969 gives the House a range of options in dealing with such a challenge, including ordering a new election or just flat-out certifying McCready as the victor and seating him instead of Harris.

The board could certify the current results that make Harris the victor.

The main issue: Harris won an unusually high percentage of the absentee mail-in vote in Bladen County. Last week, the bipartisan state board of elections refused to certify the results because of reports of "irregularities" and "fraudulent activities" involving absentee ballots.

Mark Harris, the Republican candidate who beat Democrat Dan McCready by 905 votes, paid Red Dome Group $428,911 for campaign consulting and services, the second-most he spent on an individual consultant, through September 30. Dowless was previously convicted of perjury in 1990 and felony fraud in 1992, according to court records obtained by the Charlotte Observer.

In North Carolina there has arisen a call by state lawmakers for an investigation of voter fraud. Since 2012, when Republicans consolidated control over the legislature and governor's mansion, "what we've seen is some of the most comprehensive voting restrictions in the country", said Tomas Lopez, head of Democracy North Carolina, a voter-access organization. If accurate, those results would mean every unaffiliated absentee voter, as well as some Democrats, went for the Republican.

There are also claims that incomplete ballots were collected and then filled out later, Cohen said. For almost the past decade, Dowless has been hired by state and local candidates to "get out the vote", and his past efforts have also been marked with absentee mail-in ballot irregularities. That panel can open its own probe with full investigative powers, including subpoenas, hearings and even deciding which votes should count.

Woodhouse's comments on Thursday stand in contrast to his position earlier in the week when he dismissed the idea of a new election in the Ninth District.

Other reports by GizPress

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