7 people face new charges amid ongoing investigation into illegal absentee ballot harvesting in Bladen County

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)

BLADENBORO, NC – Seven people turned themselves in Wednesday amid the investigation into absentee ballot irregularities in Bladen County.

Investigators uncovered an illegal “ballot harvesting” operation in Bladen County during the 2016 general election and the 2018 primary election.

Leslie McCrae Dowless and others are accused of taking voters’ absentee ballots by saying they would mail them. Dowless and others were allegedly working to benefit Republican candidate Mark Harris.

On Tuesday, a grand jury returned indictments on several people, and, on Wednesday, seven people turned themselves in to SBI agents at the Bladen County Sheriff’s Office.

The charges are mainly for possession of absentee ballots and conspiracy to commit obstruction of justice.

The following people turned themselves in:

  • Leslie McCrae Dowless faces two counts felony obstruction of justice, perjury, felony solicitation to commit perjury, conspiracy to commit felony obstruction of justice and possession of absentee ballot.
  • Lisa M. Britt faces conspiracy to commit felony obstruction of justice, possession of absentee ballot and voting as a felon.
  • Ginger S. Eason faces conspiracy to commit felony obstruction of justice and possession of absentee ballot.
  • Woody D. Hester faces two counts conspiracy to commit felony obstruction of justice and possession of absentee ballot.
  • James R. Singletary faces conspiracy to commit felony obstruction of justice and possession of absentee ballot.
  • Jessica H. Dowless faces conspiracy to commit felony obstruction of justice and swearing falsely.
  • Kelly Hendrix faces conspiracy to commit felony obstruction of justice and possession of absentee ballot.

The news comes months after Dowless and others were charged in the same investigation in February 2019.

Officials continue to investigate.

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