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Wed Feb 20, 2019, 08:35 PM

Inside a Fly-by-Night Operation to Harvest Ballots in North Carolina

Source: New York Times

Inside a Fly-by-Night Operation to Harvest Ballots in North Carolina

By Alan Blinder
Feb. 20, 2019

RALEIGH, N.C. — Kelly Hendrix was recruited into an illicit effort to sway a congressional race by a customer at the fast-food restaurant where she worked.

One day, Ms. Hendrix was serving burgers and biscuits at a Hardee’s in Bladen County. Soon after that, she was engaged in political shenanigans at the behest of her customer, L. McCrae Dowless Jr., a veteran campaign operative in a rural pocket of southeastern North Carolina where one in four people lives below the poverty line.

“He resembled my dad so much that I just connected with him,” Ms. Hendrix said in tear-filled testimony this week before the North Carolina State Board of Elections, which is investigating the rogue voter-turnout effort that Mr. Dowless oversaw last year for the Republican candidate for Congress in the Ninth District, now the site of the last unsettled House race of the midterm elections.

And so in 2016, Ms. Hendrix went to work for Mr. Dowless, a former car salesman, and collected absentee ballot request forms from Bladen County voters. Two years later, she was picking up more request forms — and, improperly, absentee ballots — that she ferried back to Mr. Dowless in exchange for cash “for gas and stuff like that,” she said.

With a congressional seat now in the balance, sworn testimony this week in the North Carolina capital has illuminated the inner workings of Mr. Dowless’s precise but amateurish operation, an almost fly-by-night enterprise that paid about $3 for every collected absentee ballot request and $2.50 for each collected absentee ballot. The scheme has called into question whether Mark Harris, the Republican candidate, really outpolled his Democratic opponent, Dan McCready.

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Read more: https://www.nytimes.com/2019/02/20/us/north-carolina-voter-fraud.html

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