McCrae Dowless received absentee ballot data from Columbus County

McCrae Dowless received absentee ballot data from Columbus County

WHITEVILLE, NC (WECT) - Newly-surfaced documents show how Leslie McCrae Dowless, the man indicted for election fraud in Bladen County, was also active in neighboring Columbus County.

A subpoena was issued for Dowless and others Monday evening by the US Department of Justice indicating an ongoing federal grand jury investigation into the case of election fraud in North Carolina’s 9th Congressional District.

Next door in North Carolina’s 7th district, however, is where new documents have come to light showing how Dowless and his associates were conducting an absentee ballot operation.

From Oct. 19-Nov. 3, 2018, officials at the Columbus County Board of Elections emailed Dowless absentee ballot data from the 2018 general election.

That period is roughly the last two weeks of the early voting period.

On Nov. 8, Dowless also submitted a request for a copy of the provisional ballot poll book from all 26 precincts as well as the absentee by mail ballots received by Columbus County in the days immediately following Election Day.

That information is public. Anyone can request the data from a county board during and after an election.

However, it was revealed during the 9th district investigation hearing by Dowless’ associate Lisa Britt that Dowless would use the absentee voter lists to identify voters the workers should target. In some cases, Britt testified, they would pick up absentee ballots, or even fill-out blank ballots — both felonies.

WECT reported in December the same trends of unreturned absentee by mail ballots were present, if not amplified, in Columbus County. At the time, election officials said Dowless would stop by the office frequently or would call for the absentee ballot information.

Candidate connection

Copied on 10 of the more than two dozen emails is Kelly Greene Davis, sister and campaign worker for Jody Greene, whose election as Columbus County sheriff has yet to be certified.

In an interview with WECT, Jody Greene confirmed his campaign, and specifically his sister, worked with Dowless.

Greene said he only spoke with Dowless once on the phone, and told him he was too busy “politicking” to deal with the small details. He also said in the phone call that he was disappointed with Red Dome Group’s performance because only “60 or 67” absentee by mail ballots were received in Greene’s favor thanks to the operation.

The Greene campaign paid Red Dome Group a total of $4,300 for campaign services.

A hearing is scheduled with the North Carolina State Board of Elections on March 25. At the hearing the state board will consider an appealed protest over Greene’s disputed residency in Columbus County. A memo from chair Bob Cordle says the board may also consider “overlapping factual” information about how the Columbus County and Bladen County elections were related.

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