RALEIGH, NC (WECT) - While the future of the investigation into election fraud in Bladen County remains up in the air thanks to a court ruling, some parties are continuing as if nothing has changed.
The Dan McCready campaign, acting on behalf of the candidate who withdrew his concession in the race for North Carolina’s 9th Congressional District, wants no fewer than 48 people to be compelled to attend the hearing.
According to a letter sent to the North Carolina State Board of Elections (NCSBE), the McCready campaign wants the list of individuals subpoenaed to be present at the hearing, not subpoenaed to testify. That’s because, according to state law, if someone is forced to testify before the state board regarding a criminal matter, that person could be immune from incriminating him or herself in the process, meaning charges could not be filed later based on the testimony.
Instead, the McCready campaign wants the 48 individuals to be required to attend, then asked to testify, where they can plead their Fifth Amendment rights. The letter also says that if the witnesses fail to attend or do take the fifth, the board “should draw all logical inferences" in those cases.
Those listed because of their alleged knowledge or participation in alleged absentee ballot tampering include: McCrae Dowless, Mark Harris, Andy Yates, Jason Williams, James McVicker, Peter Givens, Walter McDuffie, Dallas Woodhouse, Robin Hayes, Tyler Foote, Jeff Smith, Sheila Kinlaw, Cynthia Shaw, Gina Ward, Valeria Peacock McKoy, Bobby Ludlum, Agness Willis, Ginger Eason, Cheryl Kinlaw, Lisa Britt, Woody Hester, Jessica Dowless, Jennifer Boyd, James Singletary, Ashley Pate, Deborah Edwards, Rhonda Strickland, Joseph Boyd, Sandra Dowless, Tondra Long, Kelly Hendrix.
Dowless, Harris, McVicker and Red Dome Group — run by Andy Yates — have been subpoenaed by the board to submit documents related to the investigation. After Harris demanded the NC9 be certified last week, board chair Joshua Malcom responded with a letter that said while more than 140,000 pages of campaign documents from Harris may be relevant, the campaign has only submitted 385.
Shaw, Ward, McKoy are current or former employees at the Bladen County Board of Elections, and Ludlum is a former board chair. Woodhouse and Hayes run the state Republican party. Smith, Sheila Kinlaw, Britt and Singletary all have ties to McCrae Dowless' political organizations, Patriots for Progress and Politico Management Services.
Others on the list have been noted as witnessing dozens of absentee ballot envelopes, have worked with or paid McCrae Dowless or are otherwise connected.
The letter also calls for the attendance of 17 individuals who say they have first-hand knowledge relevant to the investigation based on their personal experience voting in the 2018 election.
Documents submitted by the McCready campaign also include draft subpoenas for each individual.
While the McCready team submitted the documents by the NCSBE deadline of Dec. 30, whether or not individuals will be subpoenaed for the hearing on Jan. 11 — or if there will be a hearing at all — is still up in the air.
That’s why, lawyers for the Harris campaign told the Associated Press, the Harris side hasn’t made any subpoena requests.
The nine-member NCSBE was dissolved at noon on Dec. 30, and while Governor Roy Cooper has said he will appoint a five-member interim board before a new one begins on Jan. 31, Republicans have said they will sue the governor if that happens.
Harris announced Monday afternoon that he will meet with state board of elections staff this week.
Former legal counsel for the General Assembly Gerry Cohen mused on social media that Cooper could simply appoint the three members he doesn’t need the GOP’s help with, and because three would constitute a quorum, the interim members could carry on the investigation.
It would take a 4/5 vote, Cohen says, to call for a new election, however the U.S. House of Representatives could use the information gleaned by the investigation to call for its own new election.