North Carolina congressional district to hold new election
by Anne K. Walters
Posted 2/22/19, 12:14 pm
The North Carolina State Board of Elections on Thursday ordered a new vote in the 9th Congressional District because of an illegal absentee ballot operation that skewed the results. Republican Mark Harris, who garnered the most votes in November, told the board at a Thursday hearing that he thought a new election was necessary. “It’s become clear to me that the public’s confidence in the 9th District seat general election has been undermined to an extent that a new election is warranted,” he said.
Harris led Democrat Dan McCready by 905 votes, but officials declined to certify him as the winner after absentee ballot irregularities emerged in Bladen County. The state’s top elections official said political operative Leslie McCrae Dowless ran a “coordinated, unlawful and substantially resourced absentee ballot scheme.” Witnesses told the board they tampered with absentee ballots, including signing them and choosing candidates on incomplete ballots. Dowless had come under investigation for his work for another Republican candidate during the 2016 primary, court documents show. Harris insisted he had no knowledge of any illegal activities by his campaign staff.
The board did not immediately schedule new primaries or a general election, which could take months to prepare for.
Read more from The Sift Sign up for The Sift email