Accusations of Absentee Ballot Tampering Raising Concerns in NC District 9 Results

CHARLOTTE, N.C. – Bombshell allegations in sworn affidavits that absentee ballots were handled illegally in Bladen County. The accusations could call into question the legitimacy of the 9th District Congressional race results.

Republican Mark Harris won over Democrat Dan McCready by 905 votes. The North Carolina Democratic Party is asking the State Board of Elections to investigate before certifying the election results. The Party’s attorney says affidavits from multiple witnesses show suspected “Republican agents” came to their homes and may have tampered with their absentee ballots.

In one affidavit, a Bladen County voter says a young woman came to her home and said she was collecting absentee ballots. The voter says the woman put her ballot in an envelope, never sealed it, never asked the voter to sign it, and left.

Another voter affidavit says a young woman also came to her home and asked for her absentee ballot. The voter told her she had only filled out her selections for Sheriff and Board of Education, and the woman told her “the others were not important” and that she would “finish it herself.” The voter says she signed the ballot, and it was not sealed.

One affidavit alleges a woman received an absentee ballot she didn’t request.

An affidavit from a polling place assistant alleges polling site officials viewed early voting data improperly, and that after the election, the assistant observed a “large number of absentee ballots” from the Bethel precinct in Bladen County.

An affidavit from another Bladen County voter says a man named Leslie McCrae Dowless, Junior told him durIng early primary voting in April that he was working for Jim McVicker – who won re-election in November as the Bladen County Sheriff – and Mark Harris. The voter says Dowless told him he was “doing absentee for both as he had done in the past” and that he doesn’t “take checks. They need to pay me cash.” The voter says Dowless told him he had “over 80 people working for him…” in the Harris race.

An affidavit from Bladen County poll observer Dwight Sheppard says on November 6th, he overheard people at the Bethel precinct say that Dowless would get a $40,000 bonus from the Mark Harris campaign if Harris won.

Sheppard talked with WCCB Charlotte Thursday night. He said, “This race was not fair, I think it was lost right here in Bladen County, if you look at the numbers.” And, “In my opinion, what I think should happen and what I would love to see happen is the 9th district, that race be ran again, that we have another election in that race, because this was not fair, and voters need to have a voice and our voice needs to be heard.”

Congressmen Robert Pittenger, who lost the May primary to Mark Harris, was asked Thursday if he’d ever heard of voter irregularities in District 9. He replied, “It’s been out there. We were fully aware of it. There are some pretty unsavory people out, particularly in Bladen County. And I didn’t have anything to do with them. Let me just leave it at that.” When asked what he thinks will happen, Pittenger replied, “I don’t have a clue. I have my feelings about what’s right and wrong, but let’s leave that to those who are digging into it.”

The State Board of Elections says absentee ballots can only be filled out by you, and only returned by you or a near relative or legal guardian by mail or in person. Also: election officials will never come to your house to pick up your ballot – or tell you how to vote.

So far, no comment from Dowless, who WCCB has tried to contact.

Congressman-Elect Harris is scheduled to be sworn in to Congress on January 3rd. He tweeted Wednesday, in part, that he was surprised by the developments and that his legal team is engaged.

Thursday, Dan McCready says the voter fraud reports are “troubling.” He released a statement saying, in part, “I am confident the State Board of Elections will take the right course of action by holding a full evidentiary hearing before certifying the election.”

Late Thursday, North Carolina Republican Party Chairman Robin Hayes released a statement saying, “The North Carolina State Board of Elections and Ethics Enforcement has a legal and moral duty to certify Congressman-Elect Mark Harris’ winning bid for Congress on Friday. If not, immediate court action will follow. There are simply not enough absentee ballots in question to change the result. Mark Harris was elected to Congress. Mark Harris is going to Congress. Democrats don’t get a do-over based on unverified rumors that were not even put in an official election protest as required by law. We encourage all allegations of voter fraud to be investigated and prosecuted, and perpetrators should go to prison. However, Democrats are throwing everything, including the kitchen sink, at the wall to try and steal an election. This madness must end tomorrow.”