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McCrae Dowless arrested amid NC absentee ballot investigation in 9th District congressional race

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Leslie McCrae Dowless has been indicted amid an investigation into an alleged absentee ballot fraud scheme in Bladen County during the 2016 general election and the 2018 primary election. According to testimony and other findings, Dowless conducted an illegal "ballot harvesting" operation. (WTVD)

RALEIGH, N.C. — Leslie McCrae Dowless has been indicted amid an investigation into an alleged absentee ballot fraud scheme in Bladen County during the 2016 general election and the 2018 primary election, WTVD reports.

The indictments were made public Wednesday, following the arrest of Dowless.

Dowless faces charges of three counts felonious obstruction of justice, two counts of conspiracy to commit obstruction of justice and two counts of possession of absentee ballots.

According to testimony and other findings detailed at an election board hearing last week, Dowless conducted an illegal “ballot harvesting” operation. He and his assistants are accused of gathering up absentee ballots from voters by offering to put them in the mail.

He was working on behalf of Republican candidate Mark Harris, who had a slim lead in the vote count before the investigation.

Others charged include Caitlyn E. Croom, Matthew Monroe Mathis, Tonia Gordon and Rebecca Thompson. Each faces one count of conspiracy to obstruct justice and one count of possession of absentee ballot. Mr. Mathis further faces charges of falsely signing the voter certification on an absentee ballot.

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