A demand from the U.S. Department of Justice for data on North Carolina voters has so far gone unanswered by state officials, despite a deadline to produce the records that passed this week. State Board of Elections General Counsel Josh Lawson said neither his office nor any of the county elections boards have provided any documents in response to subpoenas from the office of U.S. Attorney Robert Higdon. The subpoenas were originally issued in September and demanded eight years’ worth of data on voters statewide, including five years of data and executed ballots from voters in 44 counties, as part of a grand jury investigation involving U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. Complying would have required state and local boards, as well as the state Division of Motor Vehicles, to hand over millions of records on the state’s registered voters just six weeks before the November election. Mounting concern over the demand prompted Justice Department attorneys days later to delay the production deadline until Jan. 14, clarify they wanted only redacted documents and offer to scale back the request.Full Article: NC officials haven't handed over massive trove of voter data to feds :: WRAL.com.
Articles about voting issues in North Carolina.
North Carolina Republicans ratcheted up their drive to put Mark Harris in Congress on Tuesday, questioning “the entire legitimacy” of a state investigation into allegations of election fraud in the 9th Congressional District. North Carolina Republican Party Chairman Robin Hayes accused elections officials of “one stalling pattern after another” in a meeting with reporters in Charlotte. “When there (isn’t) evidence that irregularities would change the outcome of the election, Mark Harris should be certified,” Hayes said. “If they had discovered a shred of evidence, they would have made it public.” State law, however, allows for the board to call for a new election if “Irregularities or improprieties occurred to such an extent that they taint the results of the entire election and cast doubt on its fairness.” The McCready campaign, in a legal brief filed Monday in Wake County Superior Court, called that finding “an inevitable conclusion” to the case.Full Article: Why does NC GOP believe Mark Harris should take office? | Charlotte Observer.
North Carolina: House Administration Democrats keeping close eye on North Carolina election | Politico
The top Democrat on the House Administration Committee is closely monitoring the ongoing investigation in North Carolina’s contested 9th Congressional District, advising the state elections board to “preserve and protect” all of the evidence it has gathered. Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-Calif.), chair of the Administration Committee, raised the possibility that her panel could intervene to determine “the rightful claimant to the seat” in North Carolina. After election night, Republican Mark Harris held a 905-vote lead over Democrat Dan McCready in the vote count — but the election board subsequently refused to certify the results, citing election fraud allegations against a contractor for Harris’ campaign and questions of ballot irregularities. In a letter to the state election board sent Friday evening, Lofgren also pointed out that a “certificate is not ultimately determinative of the House’s course of action.”Full Article: House Administration Democrats keeping close eye on North Carolina election - POLITICO.
A Superior Court judge in North Carolina has set a hearing in a lawsuit filed by Republican candidate Mark Harris asking the court to force the State Board of Elections to certify the results of the state’s 9th Congressional District election — before the board completes its investigation into potential fraud in the race. The hearing is set for January 22. There is still no clear resolution to the controversy over the results in North Carolina’s 9th District more than two months after Election Day. Harris leads the race by 905 votes over Democrat Dan McCready, but there are serious questions surrounding an absentee ballot operation led by a political consultant he hired.Full Article: NC 9th District election dispute grinds through courts - CNNPolitics.
Lawyers for Senate President Pro Tem Phil Berger and House Speaker Tim Moore filed a motion in federal court Monday to intervene in a lawsuit challenging rules to implement North Carolina’s new requirement that voters present photo identification at the polls. Voters approved adding the ID requirement to the state constitution in November, and lawmakers adopted rules last month outlining what IDs would be accepted. The NAACP quickly sued to block the legislation, naming Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper and the State Board of Elections as defendants. Cooper vetoed the voter ID rules, and the elections board has since been dissolved by a court order in a separate case, Berger and Moore noted. Also, both parties would be represented in court by Democratic Attorney General Josh Stein’s office, they said.Full Article: Legislative leaders want to be part of voter ID lawsuit :: WRAL.com.
North Carolina: Election board investigated GOP operative at center of fraud probe as far back as 2010: report | The Hill
The man at the center of election fraud allegations in North Carolina’s 9th Congressional District was once investigated over allegations that he paid voters to fill out ballots, a former election board investigator says. Marshall Tutor, a former investigator for North Carolina’s Board of Elections, told The Associated Press that the board investigated Leslie McCrae Dowless Jr. in 2010. The probe was opened following accusations that Dowless was part of a group paying people to vote in the manner the group directed. Tutor told the AP that the 2010 investigation didn’t result in criminal charges against Dowless because there wasn’t a strong enough case against him. “Dowless was throwing a lot of money around,” Tutor said. “There was no paper trail. Witnesses refused to give sworn statements or testify in court. No one was going to admit they were paid $5 to vote. But where there’s that much smoke, there was fire.”Full Article: NC election board investigated GOP operative at center of fraud probe as far back as 2010: report | TheHill.
House Democrats are preparing to launch their own investigations into the disputed congressional election in North Carolina, where Republican Mark Harris’ campaign is facing fraud allegations and the state elections board had refused to certify the results. Harris’ campaign has sued in state court to be seated in Congress, despite an ongoing investigation by the elections board that suffered a setback when the board was dissolved at the end of 2018. Harris leads Democrat Dan McCready by 905 votes in the unofficial vote count, but voters and election workers have filed numerous affidavits detailing irregularities during the election, including reports that McCrae Dowless, a subcontractor for Harris’ campaign consultants, ran an operation that collected and marked voters’ absentee ballots. The House Democratic investigations could pave the way for a new election in the district, even if the court orders the board of elections to certify Harris as the winner instead of the board ordering a re-vote itself. The House Administration Committee, now controlled by Democrats, has the authority to call for another election after investigating the 2018 results.Full Article: House Democrats prepare to probe disputed North Carolina election - POLITICO.
North Carolina: Fight over 9th District election could drag on for months, with no one seated | Charlotte Observer
A new election might not take place in North Carolina’s disputed 9th District for months even if a new State Board of Elections orders a re-run of the contest, leaving local elections officials scrambling and constituents without representation in the U.S. House. “The election might wind up in November,” said Gerry Cohen, former special counsel for the North Carolina General Assembly. “Obviously, people would like to have the vacant seat filled earlier. There’s a lot of moving pieces.” And the timetable for seating a representative in the district that stretches from south Charlotte to Fayetteville got even murkier this week. Gov. Roy Cooper said Wednesday that a planned Jan. 11 hearing by the state elections board won’t happen, after the board was dissolved by a three-judge panel last week following a long-running, partisan battle between Cooper and the state legislature over its makeup.Full Article: North Carolina election fraud: When would a new election be? | Charlotte Observer.
North Carolina: ‘No reason to doubt the legitimacy of the outcome,’ Harris says as he sues to join Congress | News & Observer
While winners of 2018 House races were being sworn into a new Congress in Washington on Thursday, Republican Mark Harris met with staff from the North Carolina state board of elections in Raleigh. Harris and two attorneys met with state board Executive Director Kim Westbrook Strach and Chief Investigator Joan Fleming for nearly two hours Thursday morning, the board said in a news release. Earlier in the day, Harris filed a motion with the Wake County Superior Court urging the court to compel the board to certify his election. “It’s during this hour,” Harris said, “my 434 colleagues in the U.S. House of Representatives will raise their hand and take the oath of office and be seated. I’m the one seat remaining of the 435 to be seated.”Full Article: 9th district election fraud: Mark Harris lawsuit, interview | News & Observer.
A planned hearing digging into allegations of possible ballot fraud in the country’s last undecided congressional race was scrapped Wednesday, with North Carolina’s governor blaming Republicans for not backing his plan to temporarily recreate the disbanded state elections board. Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper said he won’t try to ram ahead with a Democrats-only elections board. State elections staffers then announced the Jan. 11 meeting was postponed due to the lack of a board authorized to subpoena witnesses and hold hearings. Cooper contended he had the authority to reshape a three-Democrat, two-Republican elections board to hold the hearing into an unusually large number of unused absentee ballots and a large advantage in absentees favoring Republican Mark Harris in two of the 9th congressional district’s rural counties.Full Article: Hearing into North Carolina ballot fraud claims postponed.
North Carolina: Democrat calls for 48 witnesses at state board hearing into election fraud | McClatchy
The Democrat in North Carolina’s disputed 9th Congressional District election wants to subpoena nearly 50 witnesses for the state board of elections’ hearing scheduled for Jan. 11. But state Republicans vowed to sue Gov. Roy Cooper if he tries to appoint Republican members to the interim board that would be tasked with holding that hearing. Just another day in the wild 9th district. Republican Mark Harris won an apparent victory by 905 votes over Democrat Dan McCready on Nov. 6, but the State Board of Elections and Ethics Enforcement twice declined to certify the election citing voting irregularities among absentee ballots in Bladen and Robeson counties. The nine-member board scheduled a hearing on Jan. 11, but a three-judge panel dissolved the board on Dec. 28, leaving no board in place at the moment for the potential hearing. That didn’t stop a lawyer for McCready’s campaign from submitting a list Sunday of 48 potential witnesses, including a former worker for the National Republican Campaign Committee who Harris hired to be his chief of staff.Full Article: Dan McCready: Calls for 48 subpoenas by elections board | McClatchy Washington Bureau.
North Carolina: GOP wants winner declared in 9th District, fights plan for temporary elections board | WRAL
With the State Board of Elections and Ethics Enforcement disbanded as of noon Friday under a court order, Gov. Roy Cooper said he would appoint an interim board to continue investigating allegations of election fraud in the 9th Congressional District race until a new law kicks in at the end of January. But state Republican leaders are balking at that plan, insisting that Mark Harris be declared the winner of the 9th District race despite the investigation. “The investigation as indicated by this particular board of elections is over,” said Dallas Woodhouse, executive director of the North Carolina Republican Party. “There might be – and we hope there are – continuing to be criminal investigations for anybody that’s done anything, but this board has failed to act. They have now expired. Mr. Harris should be seated.”Full Article: GOP wants winner declared in 9th District, fights plan for temporary elections board :: WRAL.com.
he North Carolina law detailing a new voter photo identification requirement got challenged in court Wednesday mere moments after the Republican-led General Assembly completed the override of Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper’s veto of the measure. Six voters filed the lawsuit in Wake County court less than 15 minutes after the state House finished the override in a mostly party-line 72-40 vote. The Senate already voted to override Tuesday. The photo ID law implements a constitutional amendment approved in a referendum last month that mandates photo identification to vote in person, with exceptions allowed. Still, the plaintiffs contend the law violates the state constitution and should be blocked, saying it retains requirements within a 2013 photo ID law that federal judges struck down.Full Article: New voter ID law immediately challenged in N Carolina court - The Washington Post.
The state Senate voted Tuesday to override Gov. Roy Cooper’s veto of a voter ID bill, one of the final steps needed before the state requires voters to show photo identification at the polls. The Senate voted 33-12 to override. In order to enact the law over Cooper’s objection, the House will also have to vote to override his veto. The House and Senate passed the bill with veto-proof majorities before the Democratic governor vetoed it. The measure would require certain forms of photo ID to vote in person. Republican legislative leaders said Cooper’s veto defied the will of the voters. Photo voter ID was added to the state constitution this year with support from 55 percent of voters.Full Article: Voter ID: NC Senate overrides Gov. Roy Cooper’s veto | News & Observer.
Voter identification has been a longstanding goal for North Carolina Republicans. In 2013, just after the Supreme Court struck down parts of the Voting Rights Act, the state legislature controlled by Republicans passed a bill substantially rewriting election laws. It included a voter identification requirement that was among the strictest in the nation, accepting only a narrow set of government issued identification. The United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit struck down the law. Instead of enacting another bill, Republicans placed a constitutional amendment on the ballot this year. The measure simply stated that a photo identification would be required to cast a ballot in North Carolina elections but left the details up to the legislature. Voters approved the measure 55.5 percent to 44.5 percent, so the question is not if there will be voter identification in North Carolina, but rather how it will look.Full Article: Battle over North Carolina voter identification law moves ahead | TheHill.
The Senate voted 33-12 Tuesday to override Gov. Roy Cooper’s veto of legislation to implement the state’s new requirement that voters show photo identification at the polls. The House is expected to complete the override process on Wednesday, and if that does indeed happen, voters would have to start showing IDs during municipal elections next fall. Cooper issued his veto last Friday, calling the bill “a solution in search of a problem.” He said the whole voter ID effort had “sinister and cynical origins,” citing a 2013 state voter ID law that federal courts later threw out after determining it was targeted at suppressing minority voting. “The cost of disenfranchising those voters or any citizens is too high, and the risk of taking away the fundamental right to vote is too great, for this law to take effect,” Cooper said in his veto message.Full Article: Voter ID rules one override vote away from taking effect :: WRAL.com.
Six months ago, election officials in rural North Carolina’s Bladen County resolved to tighten security at their headquarters and protect the ballots stored there by installing an alarm and video cameras and securing an unlocked door that leads to another government office. The fixes never got done before Election Day. The then-chairman of the county commissioners, who control the purse strings, did not see the need. Now Bladen County is at the center of a disputed congressional election rife with suspicions of fraud, including the possibility that absentee ballots were altered or discarded. While no evidence has surfaced to suggest ballots were stolen or tampered with inside the building, warnings about the potential for political chicanery in Bladen County were raised years before the burgeoning scandal dragged this patch of eastern North Carolina’s pine barrens into the spotlight.Full Article: Worries about ballot security overshadow disputed House race | Myrtle Beach Sun News.
A hearing on the North Carolina elections board’s investigation into voting irregularities in the state’s 9th Congressional District has been pushed into 2019. The N.C. State Board of Elections & Ethics Enforcement announced Friday that it will conduct a public evidentiary hearing at 10 a.m. on Jan. 11. It had planned to hold the hearing by Dec. 21. The new date means Republican Mark Harris is unlikely to be seated with the new Congress when members are sworn in Jan. 3. “The location and details of the proceedings will be released in the coming days. State investigators are awaiting additional documents from parties subpoenaed in this matter and finalizing the investigation prior to the hearing,” board spokesman Pat Gannon said in an email to media outlets.Full Article: NC election fraud: Evidence hearing on 9th Congressional District set for January | News & Observer.
Gov. Roy Cooper vetoed a bill that would require voters to show a form of photo identification before voting in person, calling it “a solution in search of a problem.” The bill passed this month largely along party lines. A handful of Democrats voted for it, and the bill passed with veto-proof margins in both the state House and Senate. House Speaker Tim Moore and Senate leader Phil Berger said in separate statements that the legislature will override Cooper’s veto. “We are disappointed that Gov. Cooper chose to ignore the will of the people and reject a commonsense election integrity measure that is common in most states, but the North Carolina House will override his veto as soon as possible,” Moore’s statement said. Voter ID has been a years-long goal for Republicans. A 2013 law that included a photo ID requirement to vote was overturned by federal courts in 2016. The GOP moved to add photo ID to the state constitution this year, and the amendment passed with 55 percent of the vote. In late November, Cooper said voter ID was “wrong for our state.”Full Article: Voter ID: NC Gov. Roy Cooper vetoes voter ID bill | News & Observer.
North Carolina: Absentee-ballot fraud scandal speaks to wider issue of racism in North Carolina | The Guardian
One night last October, Jerry Ward, 49, was gathered with about a dozen other people at a relative’s house in downtown Bladenboro, a small city of just 1,700 souls in rural North Carolina. Then a young, white woman came to the door, asking about getting people inside to vote early in the upcoming and fiercely contested midterm elections. “It was a whole house full of us and the girl came after dark and she was like saying that we could vote early and we was about to fill in them papers but we didn’t. She said, ‘I’ll fill them out for you’,” said Ward who, like the other voters quoted in this story, is African American. The comment raised suspicions among those gathered, not least because in North Carolina, like much of the rural south, memories still linger about the fight for voting rights for black residents – and the equally fierce fight to resist them.
The group decided not to accept the woman’s offer. In the end, Ward voted in person. So did everyone else in the house that night.
They were right to be suspicious. After election day, which saw a narrow win for the Republican candidate, the North Carolina state board of elections announced it would not certify the results in the ninth congressional district in which Bladenboro sits. Within days, it emerged “ballot harvesters” had been hired by a veteran political operative, Leslie McCrae Dowless, to pick up absentee ballots in Bladen county, the local news station WSOC-TV reported. Some of those ballots never turned up.
It emerged Dowless worked for the Republican candidate, Mark Harris, who beat his Democratic opponent, Dan McCready, by just 905 votes. Shortly after, McCready recanted his concession of the contest.Absentee-ballot fraud scandal speaks to wider issue of racism in North Carolina | US news | The Guardian.