CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Hundreds of new documents released by the State Board of Elections have raised concerns that absentee ballot tampering dates back as far back as the 2010 election.
Nine years later, similar concerns have placed the results of the 9th Congressional race between Republican Mark Harris and Democrat Dan McCready on hold.
Harris was the apparent winner in November, but the Elections Board refused to certify the results, pending an investigation of absentee ballots in the same two counties -- Bladen and Robeson.
January 10, the board released hundreds of copies of absentee ballots from the November election.
McCrae Dowless was a player in the 2010 election investigation, and he falls at the center of the investigation following November's District 9 election.
Dowless, a political operative hired by the Harris campaign, allegedly conducted an absentee ballot operation in Bladen County.
In an interview with NBC Charlotte, Harris admitted meeting with Dowless but said he had no idea about any wrongdoing.
“All of us want to make sure that elections were done with the greatest integrity,” Harris said.
A former investigator for the Board of Elections told the Associated Press that he looked into allegations involving Dowless back in 2010, but was never able to develop a strong enough case to warrant a criminal charge.
Asked if he would ever hire Dowless again, Harris said he could not say until the investigation is complete.
“It’s really sort of presumptuous for me to suggest would I work with him again or anything else at this particular point," Harris said.
The Board of Elections was to have held a hearing January 11 to go over evidence, but a court stepped in and dissolved the Board.
A new hearing will not be in place until the end of the month.
In the meantime, District 9 has no representative in the new Congress.