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09 December 2018, 12:30 | Darnell Patrick
North Carolina candidate paid $428k to consulting firm linked to alleged ballot tampering
Amid the developments, U.S. House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosisaid Thursday the House "retains the right to decide who is seated" and could take the "extraordinary step" of calling for a new election if the victor isn't clear. But the GOP now finds one of its own candidates at the center of the biggest alleged election fraud in recent memory. Until yesterday, the focus on illegal activity involved just the collection of ballots, more so than the high non-return rates from the counties Dowless worked on behalf of the Mark Harris campaign.
"It's expensive and logistically tough to have a new election in the 9th District", Steve Stone said. 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.
His comments come as the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation, the Wake County District Attorney's office and the state board of elections are investigating allegations that McCrae Dowless, who worked for Republican candidate Mark Harris' campaign, used absentee ballots to alter the vote in Bladen County. Incoming Majority Leader Rep. Steny Hoyer of Maryland said Tuesday that Harris was "not eligible for being sworn into the House" and would have to wait until North Carolina elections officials resolve that point.
North Carolina GOP Executive Director Dallas Woodhouse texted a statement to The Associated Press saying that the GOP would back a new election if the state's elections board were to show that absentee ballot issues changed the outcome of the 9th Congressional District race.
A little background on Dowless:Dowless is the vice chair of the Bladen County Soil and Water Conservation District board. 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.
"The House Administration Committee will have full investigative authority to determine the victor of the election", Pelosi added.
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The board could certify the current results that make Harris the victor.
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 Elections Board, with Malcolm raising questions, did not certify the results.
Unlike in Bladen County, Democrat Dan McCready won more of the absentee vote in Robeson County than Republican Mark Harris did. He has denied any wrongdoing to The Charlotte Observer.
In North Carolina there has arisen a call by state lawmakers for an investigation of voter fraud. "This is against everything that we actively stand for", he said. Why, for instance, did a lopsided share of absentee ballots that were counted favor Mr. Harris, while an overwhelming amount of ballots requested but never returned or counted came from areas likely to favor McCready? "[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.
McCrory, the Republican governor at the time, made his voter-fraud claims later that year after losing to Cooper. He has been under scrutiny by state officials since 2016, when allegations surfaced about illegal ballot harvesting in that year's campaigns, leading to a public hearing.
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