NC operative charged with obstruction of justice, perjury over alleged ballot scheme

NC operative charged with obstruction of justice, perjury over alleged ballot scheme

The political operative Leslie McCrae Dowless on Tuesday was hit with additional charges in connection to a ballot-tampering scheme he allegedly helped facilitate during the 2018 midterm elections. 

Dowless was charged with two counts of felony obstruction of justice, perjury, solicitation to commit perjury, conspiracy to obstruct justice and possession of absentee ballot, according to a Wake County district attorney indictment obtained by The Charlotte Observer

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Seven of his associates were also indicted. The defendants are expected to turn themselves in over the next week, WWAY News reported

Dowless had earlier this year been indicted for his alleged actions in 2016 election in North Carolina’s 9th Congressional District as well as the 2018 Republican primary in the same district.

In February, the Wake County District Attorney’s Office announced that it was charging him with three counts of obstruction of justice, two counts of conspiracy to commit obstruction of justice and two counts of possession of absentee ballots. 

The new indictment alleges that Dowless submitted absentee ballots that were not handled in a legal manner, WWAY News noted.

He's also accused of getting individuals to sign witness certifications for the ballots when they had not been proper witnesses. 

Dowless, an operative in rural Bladen County, is alleged to have lied about the scheme under oath. 

Reports about Dowless's work for Republican House candidate Mark HarrisMark HarrisThe Hill's Campaign Report: Democrats clash over future of party in heated debate Why my American Indian tribe voted Republican in NC's special election North Carolina race raises 2020 red flags for Republicans, Democrats MORE threw the outcome of the district's 2018 congressional race into limbo for months. 

Harris had initially led Democratic candidate Dan McCready by just under 1,000 votes. But election officials had declined to certify the results, citing irregularities in absentee ballots. 

The questions about the election prompted an investigation, and ultimately led the North Carolina State Board of Elections to call for a new election

Harris signaled support for a new election before the decision was made. He also announced  that he would not run for the House seat again. 

McCready will run again, however, and is set to face North Carolina state Sen. Dan Bishop (R) in a special election on Sept. 10.