N.C. GOP Leader Open To New Election As Fraud Investigation Continues

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"If they can say with a strong degree of certainty that the outcome of the race was changed or there is a substantial likelihood that it could have been, the law requires that there be a new election, and we would not oppose", said Dallas Woodhouse, the executive director of the North Carolina Republican Party, in an interview with NPR.

Amid the developments, U.S. House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi said Thursday the House "retains the right to decide who is seated" and could take the "extraordinary step" of calling for a new election if the victor isn't clear.

"This is bigger than that one seat", Pelosi said.

On Monday, the Charlotte Observer reported that Leslie McCrae Dowless ― a man who worked as an "independent contractor" for Harris' campaign in Bladen County ― was possibly connected to suspicious discrepancies in absentee ballot totals that could have affected the Harris-McCready election.

One month after the midterms, a congressional race in North Carolina is still undecided.

Multiple sworn affidavits, interviews of ballot harvesters, and the freakish numbers for absentee election returns suggest that GOP candidate Mark Harris, with the help of local strategist Leslie McCrae Dowless, Jr., paid people to visit elderly black voters in Bladen and Robeson Counties, take their absentee ballots and deliver them to the campaign - and over 1,000 ballots may have been destroyed, more than the 905-vote margin by which Harris won the race. Incoming Majority Leader Rep. Steny Hoyer of Maryland said Tuesday that Harris was "not eligible for being sworn into the House" and would have to wait until North Carolina elections officials resolve that point.

The North Carolina State Board of Elections and Ethics said it was now investigating "claims of irregularities and fraudulent activities related to absentee by-mail voting and potentially other matters in the 9th Congressional District contest". He was active in Bladen County in the eastern part of the district.

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McCready's move comes after the head of the state Republican Party said he would support a new election in the state's unresolved congressional race if an investigation shows that wrongdoing swayed its outcome.

However, he said that if the outcome would not have been changed, the Republican candidate should be certified the victor.

On election night, as it appeared he was headed for a narrow defeat, Pittenger complained of the "ballot stuffers in Bladen" County, according to the Post.

Dowless was also paid $940 by the Bladen County GOP this year that they said was for get-out-the-vote efforts. Investigators are looking into whether Dowless or people working with him handled actual ballots and why an unusually high percentage of absentee ballots weren't returned.

McCready got 905 fewer votes than Republican Mark Harris in the 9th District race. According to the Observer, Dowless paid people - sometimes high on opioids - in cash to collect and divert absentee ballots, an illegal action under North Carolina election laws. The president raised the specter of fraud again this year, suggesting without evidence that people had donned disguises to vote a couple of times in midterm elections.

He is alleged in voter affidavits to have collected unfinished absentee ballots. That panel can open its own probe with full investigative powers, including subpoenas, hearings and even deciding which votes should count.

Under the current nine-member board, it would take five members to call for a new 9th District election, which wouldn't happen until early next year.

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