A GOP contractor that candidate Mark Harris hired in North Carolina orchestrated an illegal absentee ballot harvesting scheme to aid Harris to victory, according to the North Carolina state elections director Kim Strach.
DAILY CALLER – A contractor hired by North Carolina Republican congressional candidate Mark Harris orchestrated an illegal ballot-harvesting operation in the 2018 general election, the state’s elections director said at a hearing Monday.
Harris currently holds an unofficial lead of 905 votes over his Democratic opponent Dan McCready for the congressional seat in North Carolina’s 9th District, but the race remains unresolved as the North Carolina State Board of Elections investigates allegations of ballot-tampering by Harris campaign consultant Leslie McCrae Dowless.
“We believe that the evidence that we will provide today will show that a coordinated, unlawful and substantially resourced absentee ballot scheme operated during the general election,” North Carolina state elections director Kim Strach said at a hearing Monday.
Dowless, who was a contractor with the Red Dome Consulting Group, organized a “get-out-the-vote” effort for the Harris campaign centered around collecting, or harvesting, absentee ballot applications and absentee ballots in rural Bladen and Robeson Counties, according to testimony Monday.
Dowless was paid $131,000 in total from Red Dome for his services from July 3 to Nov. 7, according to the election board, but it’s unclear if all that money originated from the Harris campaign.
Strach said Dowless paid his workers up to $150 for every 50 absentee ballots or ballot requests collected from the two counties.
The contractor’s own stepdaughter was involved in the ballot harvesting and testified as such. But she also says Mark Harris didn’t know anything about it:
One of Dowless’s workers was his former stepdaughter Lisa Britt, who admitted to illegal vote tampering during her testimony Monday, according to NBC News. Britt said she collected incomplete absentee ballots and filled in omitted choices with “a vote for whoever was a Republican.”
In addition to testifying that she tampered the ballots, Britt said she and a coworker improperly signed as a witness about 20 of the 40 ballots she collected.
Furthermore, Britt testified that Dowless, who she described as a “father figure,” directed her to take specific steps in mailing the ballots to avoid raising any red flags, such as mailing no more than 10 ballots at a time from post offices close to the voters.
“He fussed at me for putting on stamps upside down,” she said. “We didn’t want to throw up a red flag.”
Britt insisted Harris had no involvement in Dowless’s alleged ballot-harvesting scheme.
It’s hard to believe that Mark Harris wouldn’t know anything about such an operation done on his behalf.
The stepdaughter, who declared him innocent, may not have been privy to any dealings with Harris to make this happen.
But then again she was involved and may know exactly what she’s talking about, that all this was all done on Harris’ behalf without his knowledge.
I suspect that if Dowless goes down, and it looks like he’s going to, he’ll try and take as many people with him. So if Harris was involved, we’ll find out soon enough.
But at greater issue is this election. The courts will have to decide if there needs to be a new election for these two candidates going forward. And it sounds like that could be likely.