03/25/2019
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By Erin Smith

With an investigation being conducted by the NC State Board of Elections and Ethics into irregularities with mail-in absentee ballots in Bladen County, the North Carolina General Assembly adopted a bill on Wednesday that would require a new primary if a new election is ordered.

The bill specifies, in the event the State Board of Elections determines a new election should be conducted, they will also decide when the new primary will take place. The bill also seeks to return the board to its 2016 make up.

The NC State Board of Elections and Ethics refused to certify the election results of the US House 9th District race after allegations surfaced of voter fraud. In that race, the unofficial results show Republican Mark Harris defeated Democrat Dan McCready.

The US House District 9 includes part or all of Bladen, Cumberland, Robeson, Scotland, Rockingham, Richmond, Anson, Union and Mecklenburg counties.

According to unofficial results published on the NC State Board of Elections, in the US House District 9 race Republican Mark Harris received 139,246 votes, Democrat Dan McCready received 138,341, and Libertarian Jeff Scott received 5,130 votes.

In Bladen County, Harris received 5,413 votes, McCready received 3,856 votes and Scott received 129 votes.

The swearing in ceremony for members of the US House is scheduled for January 3, 2019. The NC State Board of Elections and Ethics announced on Friday that an evidentiary hearing will be held on January 11, 2019, at 10 a.m.

The NC State Board of Elections and Ethics, in a press release, named Leslie McCrae Dowless as a person interest in the investigation involving mail-in absentee ballots. Following the election, investigators with the NC State Board of Elections seized absentee ballot envelops and other information.

The North Carolina State Board of Elections and Ethics has subpoenaed the campaign records of Bladen County Sheriff Jim McVicker, Red Dome Group for whom McCrae Dowless is alleged to have worked, and the campaign of Mark Harris.

NC Governor Roy Cooper’s office has not commented on whether or not he will sign the bill.

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