BOE chair doesn’t expect new District 9 vote

Howard TerryDec 09, 2018

A Democratic U.S. congressman on Wednesday called for an emergency hearing into claims of fraud in a North Carolina election where the state is probing alleged improper handling of ballots by political operatives.

Woodhouse would be smart to call for a new election rather than insist on certification for Harris.

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

"While the Republican majority is once again chasing conspiracies, real election fraud is playing out right before us in North Carolina's 9th Congressional District", Connolly said in a statement.

McCready got 905 fewer votes than Republican Mark Harris in the 9th District race. "[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. "Dowless' efforts were widely known, and we did share our concerns with several people", declining to elaborate on who he spoke to or what he said.

"If somebody said something about the absentee ballots, it is just very possible that it didn't register with us", Woodhouse said.

"We had them on the phone numerous times, and there was no mention of fraud", Gorman said.

Pittenger said he did not recall being told of fraud complaints his advisers made to Woodhouse and Foote, and he declined to confirm that he blamed "ballot stuffers" on election night. But Democrats believed they had a good change to flip it with McCready, who ran as a centrist, touting "country over party" and pledging not to vote for Democrat Nancy Pelosi as the next speaker.

But he said there was "a lot of angst" among his campaign aides, who "were all upset about what happened".

In 2016, Dowless was accused of working on an illegal ballot harvesting operation that led to a public hearing, according to the Post.

When the State Board of Elections and Ethics Enforcement met November 27, it was supposed to sign off on the results of about 1,300 state and local elections, as it usually does shortly after Election Day.

"I have been studying Southern politics for 30 years and North Carolina politics for 15, and I have never seen anything like that", Bitzer said. "If people were going around and collecting the ballots, and the ballots were not secured and either manipulated or done away with, then that might, potentially, be part of it".

Campaign finance records show Dowless has been paid more than $23,000 by six campaigns over the last eight years - and in most of those races, his candidates got disproportionately large numbers of absentee votes in Bladen County. 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.

Multiple voters said in interviews that they handed over their ballots - some of which were not fully filled out and were left unsealed - to people who showed up at their doors and offered to collect them.

Lorrin Freeman, Wake County's district attorney, also has opened a probe, Gannon said. North Carolina Republicans argued that hundreds of ballots submitted in Dowless's race for the Soil and Water Conservation board seat bore similar handwriting, and thus the results were suspect, even though Dowless won his race for reelection, The New Yorker reported.

The board met again last Friday and voted 7-2 to hold an evidentiary hearing on or before December 21.

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