Woman says she was paid to collect absentee ballots in North Carolina House race

An absentee ballot witness said Monday that a Bladen County, N.C., electioneer paid her to collect absentee ballots from last month’s midterm elections.

Ginger Eason told WSOCTV, a local news station in Charlotte, that Leslie McCrae Dowless Jr. paid her between $75 and $100 to pick up completed absentee ballots for North Carolina’s 9th District, the results of which are being officially investigated.

{mosads}“I was helping McCrae pick up ballots,” Eason said to the news outlet, referring to the Bladen County Soil and Water Conservation District supervisor who appears to be at the center of the probe. 

Eason added that she didn’t see who people were voting for, but that she never mailed the ballots. Instead, she gave them to Dowless, adding that he did not mention to her that what she was doing was illegal. 

Dowless, known locally as McCrae, has been named twice in sworn affidavits as someone who worked for Republican candidate Mark Harris’s campaign against Democrat Dan McCready. 

When asked by WSOCTV about paying people to pick up ballots, Dowless said that he had no comment. 

WSOCTV said that it has found what appears to be a targeted effort to illegally pick up ballots in Bladen County.

The news station reported that it consistently found the same people signing as witnesses for the people voting, something it notes is unusual. Eason was listed as signing as a witness for 28 submitted and accepted absentee ballot envelopes. 

McCready conceded to Harris and said he would not request a recount after being down approximately 700 votes in November. 

But the elections board elected not to certify the results, citing “claims of irregularities and fraudulent activities related to absentee by-mail voting.” 

Bladen County has received increased attention stemming from voter affidavits submitted to the board that allege scenarios where people came to their homes and asked them to hand in their absentee ballots. 

Officials have also been probing uncommonly high numbers of absentee ballots submitted in Bladen County. 

North Carolina’s state elections board chairman, Andy Penry, resigned on Saturday, saying that he won’t allow himself to be used as an “instrument of distraction.”

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