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  1. #1
    Senior Member JohnDoe2's Avatar
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    Worker details alleged ballot fraud in North Carolina election board hearing

    Worker details alleged ballot fraud in North Carolina election board hearing

    By Dianne Gallagher and Joey Hurst, CNN
    Updated 4:22 PM ET, Mon February 18, 2019

    (CNN) A North Carolina woman testified Monday that she illegally picked up and falsified absentee ballots in a 2018 congressional election under the direction of a political operative who was working on behalf of the race's Republican candidate.

    In the first day of the North Carolina State Board of Elections hearing into election irregularities in the 9th District race, Lisa Britt detailed how the operation worked. The race is the last undecided contest from the 2018 midterm election and the North Carolina seat remains open amid allegations of fraud.

    Britt said she was paid by operative Leslie McCrae Dowless, her former stepfather, to collect absentee ballots. Dowless was hired during the campaign as an operative for Republican Mark Harris. Britt testified that she did not believe Harris had any knowledge of the operation.


    "I think you've got one innocent person in this whole thing who had no clue to what was going on, and he's getting it really bad here -- and that's Mr. Mark Harris.

    And it's terrible," Britt said.


    She stated she was paid at least $150 per 50 absentee ballots she collected. Collecting absentee ballots is illegal in North Carolina.


    Britt was the first witness called in what could be a three-day hearing that may decide the outcome of the election. The state board of elections voted not to certify the results in which Harris led Democrat Dan McCready by 905 votes.


    Britt also admitted that she signed absentee ballots as a witness when she did not witness the voter filling it out.

    She also said she forged her mother's signature on between seven and nine ballots to "not raise red flags" that the same people were signed as witnesses on too many absentee ballots.


    Britt said she did all of this under the instruction and often supervision of Dowless.


    Previous statements from Dowless' attorney have denied any illegal activity.


    This is a breaking story and will be updated.


    https://www.cnn.com/2019/02/18/polit...ing/index.html
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    Senior Member JohnDoe2's Avatar
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    North Carolina absentee ballot rule changes get final OKs

    BY GARY D. ROBERTSON ASSOCIATED PRESS
    OCTOBER 29, 2019 04:40 PM


    RALEIGH, N.C.North Carolina legislators finalized changes on Tuesday to beef up mail-in absentee ballot rules and punishments for violations after a voting fraud investigation of a congressional race led to a new election this year.

    The bipartisan measure, which got unanimous support in the Senate and near unanimous backing from the House, now heads to Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper for his expected signature.


    Democrats also are in favor of the measure because it permanently restores early in-person voting on the last Saturday before state elections — something Republican lawmakers tried to end last year. The bill also would allow some counties to keep using touchscreen-only voting equipment for the March primary. They otherwise had to be out of service by this December and replaced.


    Much of the legislation attempts to combat illegal ballot "harvesting," which occurred in the 9th Congressional District campaign, according to evidence collected in a State Board of Elections probe.

    Leslie McCrae Dowless, a political operative working with Republican candidate Mark Harris, gathered hundreds of absentee ballots from Bladen County voters with the help of his assistants, witnesses told state officials.

    Dowless' workers testified that they were directed to collect blank or incomplete ballots, forge signatures on them and even fill in votes for local candidates. Dowless and several workers now face criminal charges. The state board ordered a new election. Harris didn't run in the subsequent race, which was won narrowly on Sept. 10 by his successor as the GOP nominee, Dan Bishop.
    The consensus legislation keeps a promise to combat such fraud in the future, a key Republican sponsor of the bill said.

    "Secure elections are the most fundamental tenet of a democracy, and the policies we enacted today are intended (to) ensure the activity that took place last year can never happen again," said Sen. Ralph Hise, a Mitchell County Republican, in a news release.

    Under the bill, the traditional absentee ballot process remains largely the same: a registered voter fills out a ballot request form that gets sent to the elections board in their home county. The county board then sends an absentee "application" and a clean ballot to the voter, who then fills out both. Only the person or a close relative can mail in those documents or turn it in person.

    The measure increases criminal penalties for people who attempt to sell or destroy others' completed absentee ballots. Only the voter or a close relative could now fill out all the forms. Until now, an outside individual could help with the ballot request form.


    The bill also attempts to ensure that absentee ballot requesters and their identifying data, which are already collected on logs and are available for public inspection, would now stay private until the primary and the general election day. The confidentiality provision is designed to prevent mischief by political operatives.

    The measure also would direct that absentee voters comply with a new photo identification mandate by returning a copy of a qualifying ID or other identifying number with their completed ballot. The statewide ID mandate begins with the March primary.


    The Republican-controlled legislature passed a law in June 2018 to end early in-person voting on the Friday before the election day, rather than the Saturday date. In response to criticism, lawmakers quickly passed another law to bring last-Saturday voting back, but for the November 2018 election only.


    Tuesday's votes come a day after the state Democratic Party and national Democratic campaign groups sued in state court to overturn the June 2018 law. Their lawyers argue the last Saturday of early voting has been extremely popular among black, Latino and young voters, and that eliminating it would violate their rights under the state constitution.


    The last Saturday has been "heavily utilized throughout the state of North Carolina," said Sen. Floyd McKissick, a Durham County Democrat and bill sponsor.


    The lawsuit also challenges the requirement that other early voting sites in counties stay open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. on weekdays, saying counties should have more flexibility. The final bill alters the uniform weekday hours from 8 a.m. to 7:30 p.m.

    https://www.charlotteobserver.com/ne...236779798.html
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