Like Countable?

Install the App
TRY NOW

North Carolina House Race in Doubt Over Claims of Electoral Fraud

What, if anything, can be done to improve election integrity?

by Axios | Updated on 12.6.18

An unfolding investigation by election officials into allegations of "concerted fraudulent" absentee mail-in ballots in North Carolina has roiled one of the country’s last unresolved midterm House races, increasing the possibility that a new contest could be ordered.

The big picture: The allegations leveled against the campaign of Republican Mark Harris, who holds an unofficial 905-vote lead over his Democratic opponent Dan McCready, run counter to the baseless claims of rampant voter fraud by Democrats often trumpeted by President Trump and other Republican officials.

What we know: The investigation by the North Carolina Board of Elections comes after it declined to certify results for the 9th congressional district race last month, citing "claims of numerous irregularities and concerted fraudulent activities related to absentee by-mail ballots."

  • Leslie McCrae Dowless, who worked for Harris' campaign as a contractor, is reportedly at the center of the probe. He has been accused of collecting and filling out hundreds of voters’ absentee ballots — illegal in a state that mandates all absentee ballot envelopes must be signed by two witnesses and dropped off by voters or their close relatives.
  • Reports from WSOC and Popular Information revealed an unusual number of returned ballots in Bladen County signed by the same witnesses. One woman who signed 28 ballots as a witness told WSOC that Dowless paid her $75 to $100 a week to pick up absentee ballots. She said he didn’t inform her the practice was illegal.
  • Dowless has denied any wrongdoing, though the AP reports that Bladen's elections board has recorded that he submitted over 500 ballots.

An analysis by Catawba College political science professor Michael Bitzer found that McCready won the absentee vote in seven of the eight counties that make up the House seat — but not Bladen County.

  • In Bladen, just 19% of accepted absentee mail ballots were cast by Republicans, but Harris still won more than 60% of the accepted absentee mail vote there.
  • Bitzer writes, "Harris would have also received almost all the registered unaffiliated voters and/or some Democratic registered voters to make it to 62 percent of the vote."

What they're saying: Incoming House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer told reporters Tuesday that Democrats could refuse to seat Harris until questions in the case are resolved. Under law, the House has the authority to investigate and propose a solution.

  • Meanwhile, Trump and national Republicans have largely remained silent. But Robin Hayes, chair of the North Carolina Republican Party, urged the state election board to certify Harris as the winner "while the investigation continues."

What's next: The election board will hold a hearing on the allegations on or before Dec. 21. It could call a new election if it determines that the irregularities have tainted the race's result and cast doubts on its fairness.

Go deeper:

Axios

Written by Axios

Follow this Action Center to stay updated on new posts

Leave a comment
(20)
  • Robert
    12/06/2018
    ···

    Do a new election. If they cheat to get elected what are they going to do once their in office? Let’s elect people of sound character regardless of party.

    Like (13)
    Follow
    Share
  • SneakyPete
    last Friday
    ···

    NORTH CAROLINA BOGUS ELECTION CLAIMS B$👿 We’ve seen that It’s the Democrats, across the USA 🇺🇸 who’ve manipulated the whole political election cycle, from Washington on down to the local to their advantage, during the 2018 Midterms. SneakyPete..... N.C. B$ FOLKS. 12*6*18.....

    Like (11)
    Follow
    Share
  • Maura
    12/06/2018
    ···

    This North Carolina election scandal is absolutely outrageous. This needs to be thoroughly investigated. Anyone who tampered with the election process needs to be held accountable.

    Like (8)
    Follow
    Share
  • I.Got.an.Idea...
    12/06/2018
    ···

    Just another fine example of fine Republicans and their amazing concept of ethics and morals.

    Like (6)
    Follow
    Share
  • John
    12/06/2018
    ···

    All the squawking complaining ringing of hands by Republicans over election fraud and it’s a Republican who disses out a major dose of election fraud. The hypocrisy is so thick you could cut it with a knife. What has happened to the Republican Party. It is become a party of idiots led by Donald Trump into the depths of ignorance Bias and stupidity.

    Like (5)
    Follow
    Share
  • Matthew
    last Friday
    ···

    Republikkkans do not want ALL Americans to vote, they only want certain populations to vote. Look at who is responsible for the majority of gerrymandering, creating harder voting laws which restrict who votes, or who supports purging voter registration rolls, and when they do lose despite these steps they scramble to restrict the power of the in-coming representatives (Wisconsin). It is obvious, the republiKKKan party only cares for their power, NOT the American people.

    Like (5)
    Follow
    Share
  • TrulyTexan
    last Friday
    ···

    Along with Michigan and Wisconsin this is just more proof that the republicans can’t win (or even accept loss) without rampant cheating. Remove them all from office pending investigation of their election results. It seems that republican wins are never the will of the people, just the crooked lobbies to paying for them.

    Like (4)
    Follow
    Share
  • 12yanogden
    12/06/2018
    ···

    Let’s take our voting process to the 21st century by incorporating more secure information systems. Hand processed ballots are outdated, expensive, and less reliable.

    Like (3)
    Follow
    Share
  • Bebe
    last Friday
    ···

    This is sad that either party resorts to this. I'm sure this isn't the first time but it needs to stop. The people's vote matters. Too not check people working along in elections is careless. This election was rigged by Harris campaign. I believe he was fully aware who worked for him. He is tainted and corrupt!!! Elections need to be done over!

    Like (2)
    Follow
    Share
  • RAN
    last Friday
    ···

    The corruption by the democrats all over the country, to let illegals vote, dead people, the forging of ballots, stolen ballots, hidden ballots, and yet nothing is happening about it. This will continue in our new banana republic. Stop the democrats destruction of our country and our constitution. Stop the Devil’s Triangle Democrats, media and academia.

    Like (2)
    Follow
    Share
  • Marc
    12/06/2018
    ···

    Make sure this isn’t a problem here. Then stop the state legislature from reducing power of those newly elected.

    Like (2)
    Follow
    Share
  • Dori
    12/06/2018
    ···

    There must be a thorough investigation with any state where there is any possibility of scandal in an election. There should also be a revoke in this situation.

    Like (2)
    Follow
    Share
  • TrulyTexan
    last Friday
    ···

    So sad how the republicans here act. Even with proof of their cheating and fraudulently destroying our nations elections, all they can do is trot out their ridiculous “illegals and dead people” voting B.S. Can they truly not take responsibility for any of their crimes?

    Like (2)
    Follow
    Share
  • Paolo
    12/06/2018
    ···

    It starts at the bottom. If representatives has no integrity and don’t distance themselves from this continuous attack to democracy, it’s just a question of time to become an dictatorship. The rules are simple and already out, they only need to be enforced and, whoever breaks them, to be severely punished.

    Like (1)
    Follow
    Share
  • TadhgNV
    last Friday
    ···

    Investigations should be done and if election fraud is there then those responsible should be punished severely and never be allowed to work an election again. Full stop. Regardless of the party they’re in. Absolutely more needs to be done to prevent voter and election fraud. While we’re on this topic: elections should be a bank holiday, voters should be required to show a valid state I.D, the DMV should automatically register you to vote once you’re 18 (unless you specify not to), a nonpartisan commission should redraw districts which have shown to have been gerrymandered and we should overturn Citizens United and have elections publicly funded.

    Like (1)
    Follow
    Share
  • Eunice
    12/06/2018
    ···

    Dear Sirs, election reform is a paramount concern. Please pass a law requiring voter identification. Also strictly enforce our current laws; increase the penalty for voter fraud and intimidation. Also pass a law which penalized deliberate false accusations of voter fraud claims; require paper ballots. Prosecute at higher penalties,those election officials that break laws; require media to wait until all poles close in CA before “calling” elections.

    Like (1)
    Follow
    Share
  • Rosiebird
    last Friday
    ···

    Fraud is everywhere especially in California

    Like
    Follow
    Share
  • Daniel
    12/06/2018
    ···

    Go figure they commit fraud in every race and as Florida did every State more so NY, NJ as well Cal. All should be recounted they will find illegals voted and the dead voted, we need higher tech Voter ID’s with a chip that must be scened when you vote. It has your thumb print that must match yours and your signatures long with other info and a pass code, that you enter at sign in. Also you should get a receipt of your vote, like a time stamp for your records. This needs to happen to insure identification of all voters and these ID’s can only be issued at a township board of elections and require several forms of identification proof. The same as needed when at the DMV.

    Like
    Follow
    Share
  • Susan
    last Friday
    ···

    Democrats are the party ofbcheaters

    Like
    Follow
    Share
  • Brad
    last Friday
    ···

    Election integrity is vitally important to assure all voters that their votes will be properly counted and that those who seek to interfere with the election process will be brought to justice. However, these instances of voter fraud should be handled on a case by case basis. It is wrong to support the narrative that voter fraud is rampant in the US. Criminals will always be with us, but let’s not through the baby out with the bath water.

    Like
    Follow
    Share