The North Carolina Republican party will support a new election in the state’s ninth congressional district if substantial evidence emerges to indicate that the use of fraudulent absentee ballots swayed the initial election results.
“If they can show a substantial likelihood it could have changed the race then we fully would support a new election,” North Carolina GOP executive director Dallas Woodhouse told the Associated Press on Thursday.
North Carolina’s state elections board refused to certify the initial results in the ninth district, which had Republican Mark Harris ahead of Democrat Dan McCready by just 905 votes, due to “claims of numerous irregularities and concerted fraudulent activities” in the absentee vote.
North Carolina law requires that a voter or family member drop off absentee ballots. But in affidavits submitted by the state’s Democratic party, a number of Bladen County voters testified that Republican volunteers came to their homes to collect their ballots, which in some cases were not entirely filled out nor signed.
One Bladen County woman told local television station WSOC that she was paid to collect absentee ballots from her neighbors, which she subsequently turned over to Leslie McCrae Dowless, a paid contractor working for Harris’s campaign who has served prison time for felony fraud and was accused in 2016 of interfering with the collection of absentee ballots.
In making the case that fraud occurred, Democrats have pointed out that Harris was awarded 96 percent of absentee ballots in Bladen, a significantly higher margin than he achieved among absentee voters in other counties.