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Federal subpoena issued in 9th Congressional District investigation

By Erin Smith

A federal grand jury for the Eastern District of North Carolina is now investigating potential election fraud that occurred in the 9th Congressional District race. A federal grand jury subpoena was issued to the NC State Board of Elections on Tuesday morning requesting all documents and records regarding the State Board of Election’s investigation into the 9th Congressional District election irregularities.

The subpoena instructs the NC State Board of Elections to produce the requested items at a federal grand jury hearing scheduled to begin on April 16, 2019.

Attorneys for former Republican candidate Mark Harris also confirmed on Tuesday to WSOC TV in Charlotte they have received a federal grand jury subpoena as well.

Kim Westbrook Strach, the Executive Director of the State Board of Elections, issued a statement in response to the federal grand jury subpoena regarding the 9th Congressional District election fraud investigation:

“We support the efforts of state and federal authorities to investigate and prosecute crimes against the elections process. State Board staff are compiling records responsive to the federal grand jury subpoena and are prepared to assist federal and state prosecutors in their investigations. We hope that prosecutions in these cases will help restore voters’ confidence in our elections and serve as a strong deterrent to future elections fraud.”

The NC State Board of Elections conducted an evidentiary hearing in February regarding absentee ballot irregularities in the 9th Congressional District race that resulted in the Board ordering a new election. During the hearing, investigators presented evidence and testimonies were heard from several individuals regarding an alleged absentee ballot harvesting scheme, operated by McCrae Dowless and those who worked with him. They are alleged to have collected absentee ballots from Bladen County residents and offered to mail them for the voters. They are also alleged to have witnessed numerous absentee ballots and to have turned in hundreds of absentee ballots to the Bladen County Board of Elections.

Dowless along with Caitlyn Croom, Rebecca D. Thompson, Matthew Monroe Mathis and Tonia Marie Gordon were all indicted by a Wake County Grand Jury in late February.

Dowless is charged with three counts of felony obstruction of justice, two counts of conspiracy to commit felony obstruction of justice and two counts of possession of absentee ballots.

Croom is charged with conspiracy to commit felony obstruction of justice and possession of an absentee ballot.

Thompson has been charged with conspiracy to commit felonious obstruction of justice and possession of absentee ballot.

Mathis has been charged with conspiracy to commit felonious obstruction of justice, possession of absentee ballot and falsely signing certification on absentee ballot.

Gordon has been charged with conspiracy to commit felonious obstruction of justice and possession of absentee ballot

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