Published: Fri, December 07, 2018
Entertaiment | By Mabel Barber

A New Election Might Be the Only Way Forward in North Carolina

A New Election Might Be the Only Way Forward in North Carolina

Multiple sworn affidavits, interviews of ballot harvesters, and the freaky numbers for absentee election returns suggest that GOP candidate Mark Harris, with the help of local strategist Leslie McCrae Dowless, Jr., paid people to visit elderly black voters in Bladen and Robeson Counties, take their absentee ballots and deliver them to the campaign - and over 1,000 ballots may have been destroyed, more than the 905-vote margin by which Harris won the race. His highest-paid consultant was OnMessage, $835,426. Last night, Griffin reported that the ballot harvesting allegedly conducted by Dowless may have also involved the destruction of more than a thousand ballots.

An analysis by Michael Bitzer, a politics and history professor at Catawba College in North Carolina, found Harris won 61 percent of these votes, even though registered Republicans cast only 19 percent of the absentee ballots.

If the results are certified when the board meets December 21, the loser can contest the result within 30 days.

One month after the midterms, a congressional race in North Carolina is still undecided.

Dowless earned more than $23,000 working on six campaigns dating back to 2010, and in most of those races, Dowless' candidates received a disproportionately higher percentage of absentee votes in Bladen County.

The race between Republican Mark Harris and Democrat Dan McCready initially ended with Harris leading by 905 votes, but the North Carolina State Board of Elections has refused to certify it over irregularities with absentee mail-in ballots.

A state election board spokesman confirmed Thursday that subpoenas seeking documents had been sent to the Harris campaign, the firm serving as Harris' chief strategist and the campaign committee of the sitting Bladen sheriff.

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Woodhouse's concession comes one day after the editorial board of the Charlotte Observer called for a new election.

"The House Administration Committee will have full investigative authority to determine the victor of the election", Pelosi added.

"If there is what appears to be a very substantial question on the integrity of the election, clearly we would oppose Mr. Harris being seated until that is resolved", said Representative Steny Hoyer, a Maryland Democrat and incoming House majority leader.

She said "any member-elect can object to the seating and the swearing-in of another member elect".

"What we cannot have going forward from this point is an investigative and enforcement effort or process that has a partisan taint that could dramatically worsen the situation", said Sen.

Robeson County saw a surge in requests for absentee ballots this summer, which was unusually early, Steve Stone, chairman of the county board of elections, said in an interview Thursday.

Although Woodhouse was careful to say "I don't think we're there yet" when asked about holding new elections, he made clear he was open to the idea. 'If we find the irregularities and the vote count being where it is, then (a new election) certainly is an option'.

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