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By Erin Smith

The NC State Board of Elections unanimously voted to hold new elections for the US Congress District 9 race, the Bladen County Commissioner District 3 race and the Bladen County Soil and Water District Board race.

After four days of hearing testimonies and reviewing evidence, the NC State Board of Elections wrapped up the evidentiary hearing into election fraud in the NC Congressional District 9 race.

“I believe the people deserve a fair election and for their votes to be counted fairly,” said NC State Board of Elections Chairman Bob Cordle.

Following the lunch break on Thursday, Republican candidate Mark Harris asked the board for a new election. He said health issues were the reason for his faulty memory on some questions he was asked.

In earlier testimony Harris admitted he was warned about McCrae Dowless absentee ballot program by his son, John Harris, a federal prosecutor in Raleigh. Harris said he dismissed his son’s concerns as “a family conversation”.

Harris also testified on Thursday about how he first met McCrae Dowless through friends. Dowless was hired by Red Dome in April 2017 to assist the Harris campaign in Bladen County.

Investigators introduced evidence during the hearing regarding the fact Harris’ campaign paid $130,000 to Red Dome between July and November 2018. Kimberly Strach, the NC State Board of Elections Executive Director,  said that Dowless paid volunteers $125 for every 50 mail-in absentee ballots they gave him.

The NC State Board of Elections will set a date for new elections at a later hearing.

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