At a North Carolina hearing, investigators set out in detail an "unlawful," "coordinated," and well-funded plan to manipulate the polling stations on a US House election that was not called more than three months after Election Day , Finally, he brought to mind one of the most bizarre election scandals that has emerged lately. On Thursday afternoon, after four days of evidence pointing to fraud and an attempt to conceal the system from state investigators, Republican candidate Mark Harris himself told the state electoral authority that he thought a new election would be convened should be. Harris was the apparent winner of Election Night against Democrat Dan McCready.
On Monday, state investigators established their theory of the case ̵
On Monday, the session with Dowless ended under the advice of his lawyer and refused to testify before the election board. Over the next two days, they met again to continue the hearing, and the trial was extended until Thursday, with Harris taking the stance.
But when the hearing commenced on Thursday, the board revealed that Harris's campaign on the night before Harris testified had provided new evidence: previously unknown contacts between the candidate and Dowless. Harris lawyers said they had misunderstood the scope of the inquiry. Democratic lawyer Marc Elias called the documents "explosively important". He asked the court to consider the manner in which the evidence was released as "adverse interference" by the Harris team.
Harris then spent most of the day being grilled over his relationship with Dowless before making his stunning admission that the evidence required a new election. On Tuesday and Wednesday, a senior political adviser for Harris' election campaign and the candidate's own son had made notable statements about the decision to hire Dowless. The counselor, Andy Yates and John Harris, both insisted that Harris did not know what Dowless was doing and expressed their confidence in the agent's allegations. John Harris, however, said he had warned his father that Dowless's previous work on postal voting campaigns seemed to be illegal, a warning the candidate had ignored. When his son finished his statement with a few kind remarks about his parents, Mark Harris was in tears.
Electoral committee consisting of three Democrats and two Republicans has finally reunited after governor appointed new members Independent litigation. They examine the evidence in the case and then they are expected to decide on the course at the end of the hearing.
"You have two options at the end of the hearing. One is to confirm the success of Mark Harris. Second, is the call for new elections, "says Michael Bitzer, a professor of politics at Catawba College, who has been following the controversy.
An earlier repeat of the North Carolina Election Board refused to accept Harris's apparent victory over McCready for evidence of this After more than a month of the new Congress, there is still no representative of the United States from the ninth congressional district of North Carolina.
Under state law, the board may call for a new election if the fundamental fairness of the election It does not seem to matter whether the number of contested votes would have been sufficient to change the outcome: The electoral committee chair, Bob Cordle, a Democrat, recently stated in an interview that the margin in previous races, in which a new election was held, made no difference.
"They did not have to escape pity that that would have been the result, "Cordle told WFAE's Inside Politics. "Obviously we want to have a fair choice."
What We Have Learned About Presumptive Electoral Polling at the State Hearing
It is important to remember two things about absentee voting in North Carolina: Anyone can, and officials, publish at the end of every day before the election of the state a file whose voters requested by letter a postal vote and whether they were returned to be counted.
A campaign could examine this file every morning to know how many have registered. Republican, Democratic and non-electoral voters had requested and returned a mail-in-election.
"From a mechanical point of view, this is a bonanza of information for candidates and their election campaign," Bitzer said earlier.
This wealth of data would have given Dowless and the people he worked with a clear picture of how many electoral votes were received each day from Republican, Democratic and non-associated voters – and beyond that, like all the polling stations they chose needed their constituents to keep pace with the Democrats.
In fact, some of the workers who testified before the panel on Monday reported that Dowless had discussed with other activists what the absentee status situation looked like when absent. Harris had even allegedly questioned Dowless at some point after his apparent confidence in the state of the elections.
Investigators working on behalf of the North Carolina Electoral Board began hearing the contours of the Election Manipulation Scheme on Monday say was led by Dowless and then questioned Lisa Britt and several other women who worked for him.
Britt, who was the stepdaughter of Dowless for a while, said she stayed close to him, saying that she believed that she and Dowless had done something wrong. However, she insisted more than once that Harris, the GOP candidate, had not been initiated into the conspiracy.
Between the investigator's opening statement, Britt's testimony, and the testimony of other witnesses, we learned here about the alleged election fraud scheme:
- State investigators said Dowless had used the election forms for the 2018 election to preselected the 2018 election and workers sent out to find the voters so that they can sign the forms and apply for a ballot as "Phase One".
- The workers allegedly submitted the forms to Dowless and received a payment from him relating to how many they had brought in, and then sent the forms to the Electoral Board.
- At least 780 The correspondence application forms were allegedly submitted by Dowless or one of his workers.
- For "Phase 2" of the operation, investigators said, Dowless sent workers to pick up the polling stations from voters.  Some of the ballots collected by the workers had not been signed or sealed by witnesses, and the workers brought these ballots back to Dowless for a consideration.
- Dowless arrested the returned ballot papers and falsely assigned the workers to witnesses for some of the ballots he collected, according to the investigators, as witnesses.
- In order not to arouse the suspicion of the civil servants, the ballots were sent in small series from post offices near the electorate and the workers made sure that the dates of their signatures and even the ink they used, voted with those of the voters match.
- Britt confirmed much of the investigators' cases in their testimony and testified that she had collected ballots that Dowless had called on people to sign ballots they had not actually been there to testify, and that they Signed her mother's name in some ballot papers so they would not be suspected by the state authorities.
- Britt testified that the ballots were Le. After they had not been sealed and the elections were open, she would fill in some of the empty offices. This was done again to avoid the suspicion of state election officials. (She said that she had never filled in Harris's name in a ballot because voters usually filled at least the race of Congress and some others.)
- Britt also testified that Dowless was nearing the oral hearing Monday and you had spoken to her, giving her an explanation so that she could claim the fifth during her testimony.
Gathering a postal ballot for another person and the false testimony of a vote – two of the allegations made in the testimony – are state law violations government investigators.
Britt, Andy Yates and John Harris have emphatically stated that Harris did not know the plan. Democrats investigators and attorneys still satisfied Yates that he had failed to pinpoint Dowless's earlier criminal record when serving Yates's Harris & # 39; Campaign worked. John Harris also told the board that he had warned his father that Dowless might have carried out illegal election campaigns in previous elections – but his father hired Dowless anyway.
State investigators also said they could not determine if early election numbers were inappropriate shared with third parties, one of the other allegations made in the sworn affidavits that set in motion the fraud scandal.
The number of unreturned postal ballots in the Ninth was unusually high
has focused on two counties in the Ninth: Bladen and Robeson, in the southeast corner of the state near the South Carolina border. Notably, all affidavits of Democratic lawyers involved eligibility in Bladen County, and one man said Dowless himself said he was working on electoral votes for Harris in the county.
Bitzer documented the unusual trend in these counties: she had far more postal ballot postal votes that were requested but not returned, compared to other counties in the ninth district.
And at district level, according to calculations by Bitzer, the ninth had a much higher rate of unanswered postal ballots than any other county in North Carolina.
Bitzer also noted that the percentage of votes that Harris received from mail-in-ballots Blades was remarkably high. It was the only district where the Republican won the ballot vote and received 61 percent of McCready's 38 percent.
Oddly enough, due to the collapse of partisans who were accepted in the county, Harris would not only have all of the Republican electoral votes, but also almost every ballot of voters who were not registered with either party, and a significant number of voters to win Democratic votes as well.
In other words, Harris appears to work in the two counties where one of his agents was operating, allegedly having a strangely high proportion of votes. Substantial evidence of manipulation of ballots has now been presented at a public hearing, which could eventually lead to a new election in North Carolina Ninth.