The key figure in North Carolina’s 9th Congressional District election controversy won’t testify in the state’s ongoing hearings into ballot irregularities, his attorney announced Monday.
Bladen County political operative McCrae Dowless was willing to take the stand if compelled, a legal maneuver that would have given him immunity under state law to anything he testified to, attorney Cynthia Singletary said.
The State Board of Elections wasn’t willing to go that route, asking Dowless to testify voluntarily, as two of his underlings, his ex-wife and two Bladen County voters did Monday.
During Monday’s testimony Lisa Britt, one of Dowless’ most active lieutenants in an apparent scheme to collect absentee ballots from voters in Bladen and Robeson counties, testifying that Dowless paid her and others to collect ballots.
That’s a felony under North Carolina law, due to tampering concerns. Britt also said she filled out as many as 10 partially blank ballots, mostly voting them for Republicans in down-ballot races.
“You were voting other people’s ballots,” said Marc Elias, lead attorney for the second-place finisher in the 9th District race, Democrat Dan McCready.
“Yes, sir,” Britt replied.
Britt said she never marked any ballots, though, for Mark Harris, the Republican with a 905-vote lead in the race. She testified that voters had already filled out that part of the ballot.
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