"I added a new trick"

A series of affidavits submitted by the campaign of Democrat Dan McCready to the North Carolina Board of Elections reveals startling new details about alleged election fraud in the state’s 9th Congressional district.

According to an affidavit submitted by Ben Snyder, the Chairman of the Bladen County Democratic Party, Leslie McCrae Dowless, the man at the center of the scandal, admitted to throwing away some of the absentee ballots he collected. McCrae Dowless, Snyder says, told Bladen County Board of Elections Director Cynthia Shaw about a “new trick.” Shaw then conveyed the substance of her conversation with McCrae Dowless to another board member, Bobby Ludlum, who told Snyder:

Dowless: "Well, I have added a new trick"

Shaw: "What is it?"

Dowless: "I am throwing ballots into the trash."

Why would McCrae Dowless tell the elections director about obviously illegal activity?

A separate affidavit by another former member of the Bladen County Board of Elections, Jens Lutz, alleges that the board was corrupt and was conspiring with McCrae Dowless.

Lutz, who previously opened a political consulting firm with McCrae Dowless, says that Shaw gave McCrae Dowless the necessary information to request absentee ballots on behalf of others.

It is my understanding that during prior election years, Board staff allowed Mr. Dowless to take and copy unredacted absentee ballot request forms, which include social security numbers, driver's license numbers, state ID numbers, and signatures. Upon information and belief, this information gave Mr. Dowless the ability to request absentee ballots for anyone who has ever voted by absentee ballot by mail in the recent past.

Several affidavits were submitted to the board from voters who were sent absentee ballots but say they never requested one.

Lutz also said McCrae Dowless was given detailed information from the board that allowed him to target African-American voters as soon as they received a ballot.

It is my understanding that Open Records Laws allow citizens to receive information from County Boards of Election regarding when absentee ballots would be sent to specific voters. Mr. Dowless abused this provision in the law by regularly receiving such information ( contained in a report titled "Absentee Ballot Voter Correspondence Report") from Board staff, allowing Mr. Dowless to send his workers to those voters right after the ballots arrived. Because the race of the voter is included on this report, Mr. Dowless could have used it to target African American voters.

This could help explain the large number of absentee ballots in Bladen and Robeson county that were never returned.

Lutz also said he heard McCrae Dowless was given the results of early voting before it the tallies were supposed to be public. If true, it would have given the Harris campaign a significant strategic advantage.

I know of one person who claims to have overheard Mr. Dowless bragging about preelection candidate vote totals to multiple people after one-stop in-person, early voting ended, indicating that he was aware of the one-stop early voting totals, and that the candidate or candidates he supported were in the lead.

The affidavits were submitted by the McCready campaign in preparation for the North Carolina Board of Election’s evidentiary hearing, scheduled for January 11. The Harris campaign did not submit any evidence.

This is a special report from Popular Information, a newsletter with original research and fresh insight into the political news that matters most — written by me, Judd Legum.

You can sign up for the free weekly edition at popular.info.

Paid subscribers receive four emails per week. You can support independent, accountability journalism like this for $6 per month or $50 for an entire year.

In return, I'll draw on my extensive background in politics and media to decode the chaos, and deliver perspective and context you won't find anywhere else.  

There are no advertisements, no filters, and no B.S. Subscribe now.

Send me feedback at judd@popular.info.