Travis Long / News & Observer / Pool
An e-mail originally made public on Thursday indicates that US Republican candidate Mark Harris had asked to meet the man who was at the center of an investigation in North Carolina about illegal elections in primary and general elections. 2018.
The revelation frustrated the investigators, to whom the evidence was presented only yesterday, despite a summons from the North Carolina State Election Council for relevant documents dating from several months. Harris will testify before the board Thursday, on the fourth day of hearings on the contested elections in the 9th district congressional state.
The council is trying to determine whether a new election should be called in the district where Harris had directed 905 votes against Democrat Dan McCready in the unofficial count of votes.
But a system of postal voting that state investigators have been putting in place for months has put that margin back into question.
The investigation involves a political officer named McCrae Dowless, hired by Harris to lead the voting efforts in Bladen and Robeson counties. Dowless was the subject of a survey in 2016 for its tactics. A number of witnesses stated that he had, among other things, unlawfully collected ballot papers and filled in some of them.
Since the opening of the investigation in December, Mark Harris has publicly stated that he was not aware of illegal acts committed in the name of his campaign. But his son, John Harris, said Wednesday that he had warned his father that he thought Dowless was probably engaged in illegal practices as part of his operation.
The email produced by the Harris campaign lawyer showed Harris that he was addressing Judge Marion Warren to get help from Dowless. Dowless worked for another candidate, Todd Johnson, who almost swept the totals of the Bladen County ballots in 2016, and Harris mentions this victory in his email.
"On the other issue of your grace proposal to meet me in Bladen County and spend an entire day connecting to" key people "who can help me bring that part of the county to life. A future run of the US House NC-9, "wrote Harris Warren, March 8, 2017." You know the political and financial relations better than anyone, including the type whose draft voting by mail for Johnson could have put me in the US House that term, if I had known, and helped us. "
Harris's son claims to have reviewed the results of the 2016 race ballot and concluded that Dowless had used illegal tactics to help Johnson. At Wednesday's hearing, John Harris said that he had warned his father, Mark Harris, but that Mark Harris had always hired Dowless.
John Harris said that he thought Dowless was dishonest with his father about how he had achieved such impressive voting totals for the candidates he was working for.
"I had no reason to believe that my father or mother knew that Dowless was doing what was described [this week], "John Harris said." I think they lied, and they believed the person who lied to them. "