In the race for North Carolina’s 9th Congressional District, new evidence shows that more than a thousand absentee ballots from mostly Democratic voters may have been destroyed as part of potential election fraud in the state. The Hill reports that nearly 2,000 ballots were requested, but only 60 percent of those have been returned, adding new evidence to the case that has been under scrutiny in recent days.
Last month, Republican Mark Harris ran against Democrat Dan McCready in North Carolina. Since the election, numerous voters have claimed that their uncompleted ballots were collected and turned over to North Carolina politician Leslie McCrae Dowless Jr. One worker came forward, saying that she had been hired to pick up ballots for McCrae Dowless and that those ballots were never mailed.
Until now, it wasn’t clear how many people may have been impacted by the potential fraud, but officials do know that a suspiciously high number of absentee ballots went to Harris in the election. Results show that at least 96 percent of the ballots from Bladen County, where the fraud is alleged to have taken place, were for the Republican.
“You’re looking at several thousand, possibly 2,000 absentee ballot requests from this most recent election. About 40 percent of those, it appears, at this point may not have been returned,” Wake County District Attorney Lorrin Freeman said.
Right now, Harris has a lead of approximately 900 votes, though it is hard to have exact numbers because the North Carolina Board of Elections has not certified the results of the election in the wake of the scandal. Congressional leaders in North Carolina say they won’t seat Harris until the allegations are looked into and resolved.
“The allegation is of serious fraudulent activity on behalf of the Republican administrator — one or more — dealing with primarily absentee ballots…. So there’s a very substantial question,” said Maryland Democratic Rep. Steny Hoyer.
“If there is what appears to be a very substantial question on the integrity of the election, clearly we would oppose Mr. Harris’s being seated until that is resolved.”
This isn’t the first time that McCrae Dowless has been accused of collecting absentee ballots. He was also accused in 2016 of running a similar scheme. In that election, the candidate that McCrae Dowless was championing got 98 percent of the absentee votes in the district, a suspiciously high number. He has also served time in prison for felony fraud. McCrae Dowless has denied any wrongdoing.
North Carolina requires that absentee ballots be returned by the voter or a legal guardian or near-relative in order to avoid fraud.
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