Woman Allegedly Paid by GOP to Collect Absentee Ballots from Felon in North Carolina
Question marks hang over the legitimacy of the election results in North Carolina’s 9th Congressional District. In what appears to be the largest case of election fraud in U.S. history, the North Carolina State Board of Elections voted unanimously not to certify the district’s election results, which saw Republican Mark Harris edge out Democrat Dan McCready by under half a percentage point.
The Board of Elections had serious misgivings over the district’s handling of absentee ballots. The New York Times reported irregular voter activity in the district’s Bladen County and neighboring Robeson County.
In both counties, an unusually high number of absentee ballots remained unreturned. In Bladen County, 40% of the total number of absentee ballots went unreturned, and in Robeson, a staggering 62% of absentee voters did not return their ballots.
Even more curiously, Mark Harris carried 61% of the absentee ballot votes in Bladen County, despite only 19% of the electorate being registered Republicans. To do this, the New York Times suggests, Harris had to have won every single independent voter and swayed some registered Democrats. A tall order for someone who couldn’t even secure the absentee vote in strong Republican districts.
A plausible explanation for this voting anomaly has emerged. On Tuesday, a woman came forward who was an absentee ballot witness in Bladen County. Ginger Eason told local news organization WSOCTV that she was paid to pick up completed absentee ballots and bring them to Leslie McCrae Dowless Jr.
Dowless Jr. is a convicted felon, serving six months behind bars for fraud in the 1990s. He has also worked on several Republican political campaigns, including Harris’ own 2018 campaign.
Eason told WSOCTV that she didn’t realize what she was doing was illegal but added that she never mailed the ballots. She passed them on to Dowless Jr., who paid her between $75 and $100 for her time.
This would not be the first time Dowless Jr. has been accused of election engineering. In 2016, he was implicated in another scheme to illegally collect unreturned absentee ballots.
Mark Harris has repeatedly denied any wrongdoing and demanded that the board of elections certify the vote. The elections board will hold an evidentiary hearing on December 21 during which it will decide how to proceed.
If the board finds evidence that there were sufficient vote irregularities to have tainted the election or cast doubt over its legitimacy, it could order a new election.