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Tue Dec 4, 2018, 11:20 AM

Republicans Finally Have an Election Fraud Scandal. And None of Them Want to Talk About It.

There’s evidence of fraud to benefit a Republican congressional candidate.


In the weeks following the midterm elections, President Donald Trump and several Republican members of Congress became obsessed with the possibility of election fraud. As a recount in Florida unfolded, Trump accused Democrats of manipulating the vote count. On Twitter, Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) spent days accusing local election officials of fraud and innocent voters of casting ballots illegally. Republican Rep. Matt Gaetz of Florida, a Trump ally, showed up at the Broward County supervisor of elections’ office during the vote-counting and, with a megaphone in hand, claimed that fraud was afoot. When the Florida election wrapped up with no actual evidence of fraud, Republicans turned their attention to California. As county election officials concluded the weeks-long vote-counting process, during which multiple Democrats pulled ahead of their Republican opponents, House Speaker Paul Ryan questioned the integrity of California’s voting system.

But there is one place where there is a strong possibility of fraud in the 2018 midterms, and so far, none of these Republicans have mentioned it. In North Carolina’s 9th Congressional District, the state election board has refused to certify the results of the election as it investigates the possibility that fraud helped Republican Mark Harris defeat Democrat Dan McCready by 905 votes out of more than 280,000 cast.

Thus far, there is evidence of tampering with absentee ballots in Bladen County, a large rural county in the southeast corner of the state. One woman recounted in a sworn affidavit that a woman had collected her absentee ballot before it was sealed in its envelope; another voter also recalled in an affidavit a woman picking up her ballot.

In North Carolina, it is illegal for anyone but the voter to turn in his or her absentee ballot. Some affidavits fingered a local Republican operator, Leslie McCrae Dowless, Jr., who worked as on behalf of the Harris campaign, according to the Charlotte Observer. The Washington Post reported Monday that according to one sworn affidavit from a former friend of Dowless, “he oversaw a crew of workers who collected absentee ballots from voters and updated the Harris campaign on the numbers.”


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