Sunday, 16 December, 2018

North Carolina Republicans call for bipartisan probe of fraud in House race

Hoyer arrives for a closed organizational meeting of House Democrats to elect leaders for the 116th Congress at the U.S. Capitol in Washington U.S North Carolina candidate paid $428k to consulting firm linked to alleged ballot tampering
Ellis Copeland | 09 December, 2018, 00:32

Dallas Woodhouse, executive director of the North Carolina Republican Party, told CNN reporter Drew Griffin that after watching the network's coverage of the allegations, he became so upset that he "threw up", according to a tweet from anchor Jim Sciutto.

Whether it's one election or multiple elections, the cost is going to be as much as $50,000 or more for Robeson County, he said.

People paid to collect ballots and who signed dozens of ballot envelopes as witnesses are connected to Leslie McCrae Dowless, a political operative hired by Harris's campaign to help "get out the vote".

Allegations of fraud in November's general election have now put the outcome of the 9th Congressional District race in limbo.

Entertaining the idea of a new election represents a significant change from last Thursday, when state GOP Chairman Robin Hayes issued a statement saying: 'Democrats are throwing everything, including the kitchen sink, at the wall to try and steal an election.' 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'.

"Any member-elect can object to the seating, the swearing in, of another member-elect and we will see how that goes", she said.

Nearly a month after Republican Mark Harris declared victory in his North Carolina race for the U.S. House of Representatives, the state's election board is declining to certify the result as it probes mail-in ballots from two rural counties that have been called into question.

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State officials have begun investigating potential election fraud in North Carolina's 9th district, and a congressman has called for an emergency hearing to look into the issue and discuss how to proceed, according to WSOC-TV and Reuters. Dowless, moreover, may have been running schemes like this for years, financed partially by contributions from the Bladen County Republican Party. "This is about undermining the integrity of our elections".

"The House Administration Committee will have full investigative authority to determine the victor of the election", Pelosi added.

If the District 9 race is not certified by the state board, the leaders of the U.S. House can select either Harris or McCready to fill the seat, Stone said. Local Republicans point out that absentee ballots mostly favored Democrats, including Burton, in Robeson County, and the problems in Bladen didn't leak into this county.

On Friday, the State Board of Elections and Ethics Enforcement called for an evidentiary hearing by December 21 to consider "claims of numerous irregularities and concerted fraudulent activities" during the campaign, particularly over absentee ballot collection.

Mark Harris, the Republican candidate who beat Democrat Dan McCready by 905 votes, paid Red Dome Group $428,911 for campaign consulting and services, the second-most he spent on an individual consultant, through September 30. But of the voters who turned in the absentee ballots, only 19 percent were registered Republicans. A North Carolina woman on Tuesday admitted to illegally "harvesting" ballots for a contractor working for Harris' campaign.

Bitzer also noted that Bladen and Robeson counties had unusually high percentages of requested absentee ballots that were never returned. That panel can open its own probe with full investigative powers, including subpoenas, hearings and even deciding which votes should count.

Board members can call for a new election if they find enough problems that could have altered the outcome or cast doubts on the election's fairness.

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