FILE – An election worker enters a polling station in Charlotte, North Carolina, April 24, 2019, as the station prepares for early voting.
Voters in North Carolina’s 9th district will head to the polls Tuesday for a special election primary that will decide which Republican will face off against Democrat Dan McCready for a seat in the U.S. House of Representatives.
McCready lost to Republican Mark Harris by just 905 votes in the general election held in September 2018. But the results were never certified because of allegations of absentee ballot fraud.
North Carolina’s elections board ordered new elections after allegations surfaced that Harris political operative Leslie McCrae Dowless may have tampered with mail-in absentee ballots.
According to testimony presented to the board, Dowless conducted an illegal «ballot harvesting» operation while working for Harris. Dowless and his assistants helped voters obtain absentee ballots and then gathered up the filled-in ballots from them by offering to put them in the mail.
Dowless’ workers in rural Bladen County testified that they were directed to collect blank or incomplete ballots from voters, forge signatures on them and even fill in votes for local candidates. It is generally against the law in North Carolina for anyone other than the voter or a family member to handle someone’s completed ballot.
Harris has refused to run in the special election.
There are 10 Republicans running in the primary. If none of them gets 30% of the vote or more, a runoff primary will be held on September 10 and the general election will be moved to November 5.
However, if a clear winner does emerge, the candidate will take on McCready in a general election on September 10.