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Politics

McCrae Dowless, Six Others, Face New Charges In Absentee Ballot Scandal

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Steve Harrison / WFAE
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Bladen County political operative McCrae Dowless has been indicted on charges related to the November 2018 general election.

A Wake County grand jury today returned new indictments against Bladen County political operative McCrae Dowless and six other people related to the absentee mail ballot scandal in the November 2018 election.

Dowless  was charged with two counts of felony obstruction of justice; perjury; solicitation to commit perjury; conspiracy to obstruct justice and possession of an absentee ballot. Dowless had previously been indicted based on his absentee ballot work in the 2018 primary and the November 2016 general election.

Dowless worked for Republican Mark Harris in last year’s 9th Congressional District election. The board of elections in February ordered a new election in the race, which will be September 10 between Democrat Dan McCready and Republican Dan Bishop.

One of the other people indicted was Lisa Britt, a Dowless employee who was an important witness for the board of elections during its investigative hearing. Britt testified that she illegally picked up absentee mail ballots on Dowless’ behalf, and she said that he urged her not to implicate her in the scheme.

She also testified that Dowless gave her tips on how to conceal that they were illegally picking up mail ballots, which included using the same color ink as the voter when signing their names as witnesses.

Britt has been charged with conspiracy to commit felonious obstruction of justice; posession of an absentee ballot; and voting as a felon.

The indictment said that Britt mailed the ballots "in such a manner to conceal the fact that the voter had not personally mailed it himself."

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Credit WFAE
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WFAE
Lisa Britt testified that she illegally picked up asbentee mail ballots for McCrae Dowless leading up to the November 2018 election.

Wake County District Attorney Lorrin Freeman said today the investigation is ongoing.

Dowless was paid by the Red Dome Group of Huntersville. During the elections board hearing in February, Andy Yates of the Red Dome group testified that he didn't know Dowless was illegally collecting ballots - which is known as ballot harvesting.

Yates told WFAE recently that he has not heard from any investigator related to the Dowless case. 

Others charged Tuesday are Ginger Eason; Woody Hester; James Singletary; Jessica Dowless; and Kelly Hendrix.