In North Carolina, investigators find the "system" of voting in the home race


RALEIGH, NC – A North Carolina election official said on Monday that "a co-ordinated, illegal and resource-intensive correspondence voting plan", potentially involving more than 1,000 votes or application forms, has been reported. 39; absence, took place last year in the ninth district of the state Congress.

The regulator, Kim Strach, executive director of the North Carolina State Elections Council, presented for the first time the findings of the investigators at a hearing in Raleigh, which could determine the fate of the race of the ninth district after allegations of widespread fraud.

Republican candidate Mark Harris has 905 votes ahead of his Democratic rival, Dan McCready, but state officials refused last year to certify Harris as the winner because of Concerns about "irregularities" in postal voting.

The outcome of the hearing could undermine Republicans' claims that they oppose election fraud. The state council could either certify the results or order a new election in the ninth district, which includes part of Charlotte and a large expanse of southeastern North Carolina.

State investigators also found that Red Dome Consulting, who worked for Mr. Harris's campaign, paid Mr. Dowless more than $ 83,000 for his work in the general election. (Ms. Strach said Monday that it was not clear if all of this money was related to the efforts on the part of Mr. Harris.)

Harris, who watched Monday's hearings with his arms crossed, admitted to leading the hiring of Mr. Dowless but denied that he had committed a wrongdoing. His allies asked the state to certify his election.

"Because the intention of the elector is essential, any presumptive ballot harvest is not enough, is in favor of a new election," wrote a lawyer for Mr. Harris in a document filed recently with the Board of state. "Certainly, the collection of ballots by correspondence, by correspondence, is illegal and must be sent back to the prosecutors for the appropriate measures to be taken."

The campaign added that it is not because a ballot is not properly handled or transmitted that it does not mean that it does not represent the elector's wishes. "In the absence of evidence that the contents of the ballots were sufficient in number to change the outcome of the election, any illegality in the manner in which they were delivered should be irrelevant to the Commission's decision-making. ", wrote the lawyers.

Mr. McCready's campaign, in his own brief, stated that "the results of the election are tainted and its fairness is in doubt".

Mr. McCready's lawyers drafted their argument with a law in mind: In North Carolina, the Council of State may order a new vote if it considers that "irregularities or irregularities have occurred. produced to such an extent as to alter the election results and cast doubt on its fairness. "

The election committee should not begin its deliberations until Tuesday at the earliest. A separate criminal investigation "will continue to be conducted after today," said Ms. Strach.

The allegations of fraud, and in particular the resulting investigation, have left the ninth district without representation in the House since the beginning of January, when the new Congress convened. Republicans have held the position since 1963 and Harris beat Rep. Robert M. Pittenger in a primary last year.

Even in a state capital that has recently been the subject of much political debate, Monday's hearing was almost unreal. Before the work started, a girl stood next to her mother in the cold and held a sign saying: "You will not covet your neighbor's votes!"

Inside the North Carolina State Bar building, which hosted the hearing, the Libertarian candidate stood up in the lobby to distribute press releases and offer bread with banana and nuts. Outside of Witness Room 2 was Mr. Dowless, his hands in the pockets of his suit. Later, when her daughter-in-law testified that she had sometimes filled unfilled ballots, Mr. Dowless listened closely to the back of the courtroom, head down and eyes closed.

Regardless of the decision of the state council, the US House of Representatives can intervene.

The House, which has the constitutional power to be "the judge of the elections, the return of the deputies and the quality of its members," was closely watching the debates on Monday. In front of Mr. Dowless and a few feet away from Mr. Harris, a man watched the proceedings in silence.

His seat was reserved for a lawyer of the House.

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