State board investigating double voting cases in Bladen County during NC9 do-over election

State board investigating double voting cases in Bladen County during NC9 do-over election

BLADEN COUNTY, N.C. (WECT) - The N.C. State Board of Elections is investigating two cases of alleged double voting in Bladen County during the recent special election in the 9th Congressional District.

“Because they are ongoing investigations, we cannot provide additional information about the cases at this time,” Patrick Gannon, a spokesperson for the state board, said in an email.

The new election was the result of a unanimous decision by the state board’s decision that the original results from November 2018 were tainted by election fraud. After a lengthy investigation and four-day hearing, the board determined evidence showed there was a “coordinated, unlawful and substantially resourced absentee ballot scheme” being operated in Bladen and Robeson Counties.

At the center of the investigation was Bladen County resident McCrae Dowless, who has been indicted on felony election fraud charges for allegedly mishandling absentee by mail ballots, and directing his workers to do the same, in order to benefit the candidates he worked for.

Republican Dan Bishop defeated Democrat Dan McCready in the do-over election on Sept. 10. Bishop was officially sworn in on Tuesday, filling the congressional seat that had remained empty for more than 250 days.

The two double voting cases, which would not have changed the outcome of the election, were discovered by the Bladen County Board of Elections during its canvass of the results Monday morning.

Based on past experiences, Gannon said, what appears to be a double vote may not actually be a double vote, or an intentional violation of law.

“Poll worker error can cause a vote to be attributed to the wrong person,” Gannon said. “Also, we have seen cases where cognitive impairment has caused a voter to unintentionally cast two ballots in the same election.”

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