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

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

The North Carolina Democrat called on his Republican opponent, pastor Mark Harris, "to tell the American people exactly what he knew and when he knew it".

The allegations have left North Carolina's Ninth Congressional district seat in limbo, with Harris holding a 905-vote lead over Democrat Dan McCready.

Dan McCready, the Democrat running for Congress in North Carolina's disputed 9th District, has taken back his concession amid allegations of large-scale voter fraud on behalf of the GOP candidate. He added that minority and elderly voters appeared to have been targeted, and "a cloud of doubt and suspicion hangs over this election result". Harris, a Southern Baptist minister who had defeated U.S. Rep. Robert Pittenger, R-N.C., in the GOP primary, carried Union and Bladen counties. GOP officials have denied the report.

But the state elections board refused to certify the results last week because of allegations of "irregularities and concerted fraudulent activities" involving mail-in ballots in the district. Mark Harris now has 905 more votes than Democrat Dan McCready in the congressional race, but state officials are hesitant to certify the results after Democrats are accusing their opponents of voter fraud. But we do know enough. He has been named Harris' incoming chief of staff, although whether Harris will be seated in Congress in January remains uncertain.

The move came as attention focused on Leslie McCrae Dowless, a Bladen County, North Carolina operative who was hired by a firm that got $400,000 from the Harris campaign. One woman told WSOC-TV that Dowless "paid her $75 to $100 a week to go around and pick up finished absentee ballots".

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The Wake County district attorney's office in Raleigh and the State Bureau of Investigation are also conducting probes, Wake County District Attorney Lorrin Freeman told The Post. On Sunday, Hayes said there weren't enough questioned ballots to change the race's outcome, and the next day he accused a Democratic member of the state board of "score-settling".

Harris may not be the only Republican to have benefited from Dowless's work, either. If true, the charges sharply contrast with those that Republicans have used to justify ballot restrictions around the country, said Myrna Perez, a voting-rights expert at the Brennan Center for Justice at New York University's law school.

A little background on Dowless: Dowless is the vice chair of the Bladen County Soil and Water Conservation District board. 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.

In the days immediately after the race, aides to Pittenger told the executive director of the North Carolina Republican Party and a regional political director for the National Republican Congressional Committee that they believed fraud had occurred, according to people familiar with their discussions.

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