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North Carolina Republican owes money for disputed absentee ballot work

North Carolina Republican owes money for disputed absentee ballot work

The North Carolina Republican Party said Thursday that it would be open to a new election in the state's ninth US congressional district, where an absentee ballot probe is underway, if investigators can show "substantial likelihood" that the alleged fraud scheme changed the outcome of the race. He added that the State Board of Elections should "act immediately" and certify the results because "anything else is a disservice to the people of the Ninth District".

A political operative named McCrae Dowless has emerged as the focus of allegations that he led a network of people who collected absentee-by-mail ballots en masse, which is forbidden under North Carolina law. North Carolina law allows someone to turn in an absentee ballot on behalf of a "close relative". "North Carolina has a long history of this kind of thing, particularly in rural areas". Others reported turning over their absentee ballots to the workers, only to find out later from election officials that the ballot was never submitted to the state.

On Wednesday, Rep. Gerry Connolly, D-Va., who sits on the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, called for an emergency hearing on the situation in North Carolina. The total number of unreturned ballots for Bladen and Robeson in the 9th exceeded the current margin. The same year, The New Yorker continued, Dowless was running to remain the incumbent vice-chairman of Bladen County's Soil and Water Conservation district board. The investigation that began with claims from 2016 has now spread to this year's primary and general elections, Wake County DA Lorrin Freeman said in an interview.

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"The House has, as you know, the authority over the propriety of the election", Hoyer said. A North Carolina woman on Tuesday admitted to illegally "harvesting" ballots for a contractor working for Harris' campaign. He pleaded guilty to felony insurance fraud in 1992. Dowless put his name on an elections protest, backed at the time by the campaign of then-GOP Gov.

Speaking prior to the publication of the Post's report, Woodhouse was adamant that the one person who was unaware of what Dowless was up to was candidate Mark Harris.

Both Bladen County and Dowless have been at the center of controversy over absentee ballots before. She told WSOC she was trying to assist people who didn't have time to go to the polls but declined to comment when asked if she worked for Dowless.

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An analysis by Catawba College's J. Michael Bitzer found that McCready won lopsided majorities of absentee ballots in seven of the eight counties that comprise the 9th District, except in Bladen County. A copy of the Bladen election board's log book shows Dowless turned in well over 500 applications. If the nine-member board determines the election was tainted enough to cast doubt on its outcome, it can order another election. We need new federal election guidelines to prevent states from rigging the process. An election would take place well after the new session of Congress convenes January 3, likely creating a temporary vacancy.

Dowless worked for Republican candidate Mark Harris, a Baptist minister who tallied 905 more votes than Democratic businessman and retired Marine Dan McCready.

"The campaign was not aware of any illegal conduct in connection with the 9th District race", Branch said in a statement. But Democrats believed they had a good change to flip it with McCready, who ran as a centrist, touting "country over party" and pledging not to vote for Democrat Nancy Pelosi as the next speaker. And with even Woodhouse conceding that a new election might be necessary, Harris's chances of occupying a seat in Congress are beginning, ever-so-gradually, to shrink.

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