February 16, 2019

Republicans had warnings of vote fraud before North Carolina election

09 December 2018, 12:31 | Devin Moran

State officials investigate potential election fraud in North Carolina; emergency hearing possible

North Carolina candidate paid $428k to consulting firm linked to alleged ballot tampering

The GOP's executive director made the statement Thursday, softening the organization's stance as allegations of absentee ballot fraud mount.

McCready called the reports of potential wrongdoing "shameful criminal activity, bankrolled by my opponent" to take away the right of North Carolina resident to vote. "And furthermore, I call on Mark Harris to tell the American people exactly what he knew and when he knew it".

Unofficial totals have Republican Mark Harris leading McCready by 905 votes.

Leslie McCrae Dowless, an independent contractor for Red Dome Group, allegedly hired people to illegally collect absentee ballots, according to The Charlotte Observer. "[But] if voter fraud was committed by Republicans, then yes, that would be ironic", said Carter Wrenn, a Republican consultant based in North Carolina who is not affiliated with either campaign.

A look at the numbers from the GOP primary in North Carolina show that Harris won by an extraordinary margin in the absentee-by-mail results, with an edge of 437-17 over Rep. Robert Pittenger (R-NC).

The State Board of Elections is investigating whether he had a role in manipulating or even handling absentee ballots.

Top state Republican officials said Thursday they could support a new election in the 9th Congressional District only if the board uncovers "an overwhelming amount of evidence" that fraud changed the outcome of the vote or that "there is a substantial likelihood that it could have been (changed)".

However, he said that if the investigation shows that the outcome would not have been changed, Republican candidate Harris should be certified the victor. According to the state Elections Board website, Harris received 73,752 absentee votes, one-stop and mail-in, and McCready received a total of 81,084.

There are also claims that incomplete ballots were collected and then filled out later, Cohen said. State law bars this kind of "harvesting" of absentee ballots, which must be submitted by mail or in person by the voter or a close family member. Multiple people have admitted to WSOC's Joe Bruno that they were paid to serve as witnesses to and collect absentee mail-in ballots, which is illegal.

Nearly a month after Republican Mark Harris declared victory in his North Carolina race for the U.S. House of Representatives, the state's election board is declining to certify the result as it probes mail-in ballots from two rural counties that have been called into question.

Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), who will likely become the next Speaker of the House, said on Thursday that she will continue to watch the investigation.

"This is bigger than that one seat", Pelosi said.

The nation's last unresolved fall congressional race with Republican Mark Harris against Democrat Dan McCready.

Harris' campaign paid the GOP consulting firm Red Dome Group more than $400,000 during the 2018 campaign - and Red Dome Group paid Dowless. North Carolina requires witnesses to sign absentee ballots.

In North Carolina, several state Senate Republicans whose districts overlap the 9th called for further scrutiny of voting irregularities going back to 2010 and urged Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper to create a bipartisan task force - separate from the state elections board - to investigate irregularities beyond this year's election. If true, this would raise serious questions about what Republicans knew and why, if they knew anything, they failed to take action - especially since the party has claimed to be so ruthlessly obsessed with protecting the integrity of elections.

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