Reporter says woman paid to collect ballots in North Carolina House race thought she was doing a good deed

North Carolina local news reporter Joe Bruno said Monday that one of the women paid by an electioneer to collect absentee ballots in the state's 9th District said she thought she was genuinely doing a good deed to help voters amid controversy unfolding in the race. 

"They said that they had kind of known McCrae Dowless for years, and they knew that he always did this around election time," Bruno, a reporter at Charlotte's WSOC-TV, told Hill.TV's Buck Sexton and Krystal Ball on "Rising." 

"They figured it was politics. It was good work. This is an easy way to make $75, $100 a week. They had no idea what they were doing was wrong," he continued. 

"One of the women that was paid to collect those ballots, she said she just wanted the extra roll so she could pick up cash for Christmas," he said. "So she really wasn't thinking that she was participating in a grand election fraud scheme. She was thinking she was doing good work and helping people cast their vote." 

Controversy has rocked the House race after multiple voters came forward with sworn statements saying their absentee ballots were hand-collected by canvassers, which is not allowed in North Carolina. 

Mark Harris, the Republican candidate in the race, leads Democrat Dan McCready by 905 votes, but the results have not been certified. 

WSOC-TV reported earlier this month that it found what appears to be a targeted effort to illegally pick up ballots in Bladen County, N.C. 

Leslie McCrae Dowless Jr., the Bladen County Soil and Water Conservation District supervisor, appears to be at the center of the investigation. 

Ginger Eason told WSOC-TV that Dowless paid her between $75 and $100 to pick up completed absentee ballots for North Carolina's 9th District and that she never mailed the ballots. 

She went on to say that Dowless never told her that what she was doing was illegal. 

The state board of elections cited "irregularities" and is set to hold an evidentiary hearing on Dec. 21.

— Julia Manchester