BLADEN COUNTY, NC (WECT) - Six months after the 2018 midterms appeared to be over, Bladen County voters — along with the rest of the 9th congressional district — have taken to the polls once again.
In the 9th district, Republican voters were presented with 10 options in the primary for the congressional seat. If no candidate brings in more than 31 percent of the vote, there may be a runoff. Otherwise, the winning candidate will face Democrat Dan McCready, Libertarian Jeff Scott and Green Party candidate Loran Allen in the general election on Sept. 10.
Bladen County voters will select the next Soil and Water Conservation District Supervisor, and those in the 3rd county commission district will choose between incumbent Democrat Russell Priest and Republican Wayne Edge for that local office.
In February, the North Carolina State Board of Elections called for new elections for the three seats after the board found evidence of election fraud in Bladen and Robeson counties.
McCrae Dowless, working on behalf of Red Dome Group, was arrested in March on seven felony counts for his actions in the 2016 election and 2018 primary, and investigators have said the probe into his efforts in the 2018 general election are ongoing.
At the NCSBE hearing in February, Mark Harris, who unofficially had 905 more votes than McCready, unexpectedly threw his support behind a new election after stunning testimony from his son, as well as those who had worked for Dowless. Harris later decided not to run in the new race, citing health issues.
Dowless and his associates were operating an absentee ballot program where workers would first solicit absentee ballot request forms, then return and pick up the ballots, which is illegal in North Carolina.
Additionally, state board investigators found security issues with the Bladen County Board of Elections office, as well as evidence poll workers were not properly trained. In one case, the results of early voting were tabulated three days early, and seen by multiple precinct workers.
The NCSBE has been on-site in Bladen and Robeson counties throughout the early voting process, and spokesperson Patrick Gannon indicated those staff members would remain on the ground through Election Day, and possibly through the canvassing process.