Republican Mark Harris needs to testify under oath as to what he knows about alleged absentee ballot fraud in the 9th Congressional District election, his opponent said Tuesday. Harris leads Democrat Dan McCready by about 900 votes in the race, but the State Board of Elections has refused to certify the results because of suspected voting irregularities in Bladen and Robeson counties. Harris has acknowledged hiring Bladen County political operative McCrae Dowless to oversee absentee ballot operations in the county. Several people have told reporters that Dowless paid them to pick up mail-in ballots, a felony under North Carolina law due to tampering concerns. Dowless has, through his attorney, denied any wrongdoing, but he hasn’t yet sat down with elections board investigators looking at the 9th District.
The elections board has scheduled a Feb. 18 public hearing to review the evidence collected in the investigation. In addition to seeing the evidence himself, McCready said Tuesday that he’s eager to hear what Harris knew about Dowless’ actions and when he knew it.
“My focus all along has been let’s have the facts, let’s find out what actually happened as to election fraud that was conducted by my opponent’s campaign,” McCready said in an interview with WRAL News.
“We don’t know if he stole hundreds of votes or thousands of votes,” he said, citing affidavits filed in the investigation that the elections board has made public so far that allege Dowless was seen with hundreds of absentee ballots and that he had crews of people going door to door collecting ballots.