A proposal that would require another primary in the 9th Congressional District if suspected absentee ballot fraud results in a new election won legislative approval Wednesday. The requirement for a complete do-over in the 9th District is part of wide-ranging legislation that restructures the State Board of Elections and keeps information about campaign finance investigations secret. The State Board of Elections is investigating potential absentee ballot fraud in Bladen and Robeson counties. Leslie McCrae Dowless, who worked as a contractor for Republican Mark Harris’ congressional campaign, is at the center of an investigation over mishandling of absentee ballots. Harris defeated Democrat Dan McCready by 905 votes in November, but the state board has twice declined to certify the results.
“Should the state board order a new election, it would reset the clock,” said Rep. David Lewis, a Harnett County Republican. Candidate filing would reopen, and there would be, if necessary, a primary and a second primary leading to a general election.
If there is a new election, the voter ID law that the legislature passed last week would not be used.
The legislation also requires the state elections board to report on efforts to identify and investigate instances of potential absentee ballot harvesting, and report absentee ballot data and trends for the past five election cycles.