State investigators were reportedly in Bladen County, N.C., for the first time as part of their investigation into the race for a disputed U.S. House seat. 

WSOC-TV, a local news station in Charlotte, N.C., first reported the development. The news station said that investigators spoke with Lisa Britt, who signed the most absentee ballots as a witness in the 9th Congressional District race. 


The news station added that it witnessed Kim Strach, the state’s chief elections official, and Joan Fleming, the North Carolina State Board of Elections (NCSBE) chief investigator, leave an apartment in the county with handfuls of papers and notepads. 

An NCSBE spokesperson also told the news station that subpoenas have been issued to Republican candidate Mark HarrisMark HarrisTrump sparks debate over merits of voting by mail The Hill's Campaign Report: Debate over mail-in voting heats up Bevin says he lost because liberals are 'good at harvesting votes' in urban areas MORE as part of its probe.

The NCSBE added that subpoenas have been issued to Bladen County Sheriff Jim McVicker's campaign as well as Red Dome, a political consulting firm that Harris had hired. 

The report comes as an investigation into the results of the House race gains increasing attention. 

In November, Democrat Dan McCready conceded to Harris and said he would not request a recount after being down by about 700 votes. But the state elections board chose not to certify the results, citing “claims of irregularities and fraudulent activities related to absentee by-mail voting.” 

Voter affidavits submitted to the board allege instances in which people came to citizens' homes in Bladen County and asked them to hand in their absentee ballots. 

Multiple women have told WSOC-TV that an electioneer, Leslie McCrae Dowless Jr., paid them to collect absentee ballots for last month's midterm elections. 

One of those women, Cheryl Kinlaw, told the news station on Tuesday that she never mailed the ballots she collected and that she instead handed them over to Dowless. Kinlaw said she was unaware that what she was doing was illegal. 

Dowless has been named twice in sworn affidavits as someone who worked on Harris's campaign. 

Wake County District Attorney Lorrin Freeman also told CNN on Wednesday night that thousands of absentee ballots from likely Democratic voters may have been destroyed in the House race.