North Carolina demands that witnesses sign postal ballots. Usually these witnesses are family members or friends.
But a set of 161 postal votes for the 9th congressional district, which CNN received on Monday, showed that the same nine people had each signed at least 10 postal votes.
Many of these nine people who signed ballot papers seem to know each other, checking that public records and their social media accounts have been displayed. Some are also staff members of Leslie McCrae Dowless, a longtime North Carolina employee who worked for the campaign led by Mark Harris, the Republican who leads the race with 905 votes.
Three witnesses, each with more than 40 votes, were signed in a CNN report, and another with 30 and three others signed more than ten. The electoral law of North Carolina states that only the voter or a close relative can make a postal vote.
Their signatures on several ballots and ties to Dowless were first published by Judd Legum, the author of the progressive newsletter Popular Information.
Jeffrey Smith, a former friend of Dowless & # 39; who used to rent office space, said Dowless has teams of people working with him.
"He gets workers to get people to sign up for a postal vote on a sheet of paper," Smith said in a telephone interview with CNN. "Say you live in a residential area of section 8, they will collect these requests, he says you do not have to leave your house, you can just vote at home."
Smith added Dowless, then sent people to "harvest" the ballots and sent them to the election office.
Dowless pledged insurance fraud in the early 1
Voting card signatures are scrutinized as North Carolina election officials investigate allegations of abusive activity – which could eventually lead to new elections.
Harris, a Baptist minister, quoted former Democratic naval and businessman Dan McCready with 905 votes after all ballots were counted.
But last week, the two-sided government agency for elections and ethics enforcement delayed Harris's appointment as winner after receiving affidavits from voters claiming that people had come to their doors to fill in and out Delivering the voting cards to help. Democrats filed a sworn statement from someone claiming they had overheard that Dowless would receive a $ 40,000 bonus if Harris won the race.
Instead of confirming the election, the Board initiated an investigation and requested another hearing on or before 21 December.
The allegations relate to Bladen County, where post-election results for Harris were much cheaper than other votes in both the pre-election and parliamentary elections. When Republican Robert Pittenger took office in the area code, he won in the district of Bladen 437 Pensinger votes (17), although in this race there was no manipulation of ballots.
This year, Harris won 420 parliamentary elections in parliamentary elections in Bladen County until McCready 258.
On Twitter last week, Harris said he supported the investigation. There is no indication that he was involved in a disrespect.
Michael Bitzer, a professor of chemistry at Catawba College, also pointed to an unusually high percentage of electoral choices that were not requested in the circles of Bladen and Robeson.
In Bladen, about 40% of the required absentee ballots or 495 ballots were not returned. In Robeson, about 62% or 1,180 ballots were not returned. Both percentages are much higher than the district non-return rate, which was 24%.
The Republican Party of North Carolina called on Friday for the dismissal of the chairman of the electoral board, Democrat Andy Penry. Penry stepped back at the weekend.
"The investigation should be free of distraction attempts and disabilities to expose the truth, and I will not be used as a distraction tool in this investigation," Penry said in a statement.
North Carolina Democratic Party leader Wayne Goodwin said Monday that the GOP should "not stand in the way of revealing the truth".
"These charges are unbelievably serious, and if they are true, they will show a calculated effort to undermine our free elections illegally and influence election for a particular candidate," he said.
Madeleine Ayer of CNN contributed to this report.