Election Fraud

  The State Board of Elections certifies historic 2020 election results

The official election results are finalized by canvass, the process that determines all votes have been counted and tabulated correctly.

  Wake County DA clears Mark Harris, candidate in congressional race that led to election fraud investigation

  Elections officials work to prepare for voting during a pandemic, in the shadow of an election fraud scandal

Key figure in NC09 election fraud case indicted on Social Security fraud charges

  Too soon? Campaign signs signal early start to 2020 elections

  With seats in the balance, New Hanover Co. election officials approve absentee, provisional ballots; Final counts to be tallied Friday

  Gov. Cooper signs bill that combats absentee ballot tampering

Continued Coverage

Bladen County election-related disputes continue as Republican leader files complaints against Democratic board members, NCSBE to consider complaints

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

  Republican Dan Bishop unofficial winner in 9th District re-do election

  New election in N.C.’s 9th district Tuesday; Experts say race could be ‘canary in the coal mine’ for 2020

State elections board encourages early voting for Sept. 10 races ahead of possible Dorian impacts

Candidates in 9th District special election meet for debate

McCrae Dowless faces additional charges as new election fraud indictments announced

McCrae Dowless indicted on more charges.

  WECT Investigates: Judge’s order blocks man from filing ‘frivolous’ lawsuits

Calvin Norton has sued local officials so many times in lawsuits deemed “frivolous” by a judge, that he has effectively had his right to sue in state court revoked. But that hasn’t stopped the Columbus County man.

  Lawyers file notice of appeal in Columbus County sheriff’s election dispute

Attorneys challenging the outcome of the November election for Columbus County sheriff filed a notice of appeal Friday with the North Carolina State Board of Elections. They also plan to file a complaint and a Motion for a Stay of certification with Wake County Superior Court.

  State elections board issues order in Columbus County Sheriff dispute, parties plan appeals

The North Carolina State Board of Elections (NCSBE) has formally issued its findings in the case of the disputed sheriff election in Columbus County.

  Priest wins Bladen Co. District 3 recount

  Recount scheduled in Bladen County Commission race

  NC9 Election Results: Bishop takes GOP primary; Bladen Commissioners’ race decided by four votes

Republican candidates face off in primary NC District 09 election

Bladen County, 9th district vote in election re-do

  Major changes made at Bladen County Board of Elections to improve security

  State elections board sides with Jody Greene; protesters plan appeal; investigators detail absentee ballot activity

NCSBE determined Greene was a Columbus County resident when he filed to run for sheriff.

  Election deception: WECT Investigates spillover of absentee ballot irregularities in Columbus County

The ties between Bladen and Columbus counties run deep, and in 2018, they shared the symptoms of absentee ballot irregularities.

  With voter confidence on the line, all eyes on Bladen County as voting gets underway

Just shy of five months after the North Carolina State Board of Elections refused to certify three races — Bladen County Commission District 3, Soil and Water Conservation District Supervisor and North Carolina’s 9th congressional seat — voters are again taking to the polls.

  Another deputy seeking back pay from Columbus Co., says acting sheriff didn’t have authority to fire him

“It is Mr. Campbell’s position that, due to the N.C. State Board of Elections position that Mr. Green’s [sic] election was never certified, Mr. Green was without legal or actual authority to either demote or terminate Mr. Campbell.”

  Voting along party lines, Columbus County elections board decides Jody Greene was not domiciled in county

The second day of testimony included a trip for the board and the public to Greene's land in Cerro Gordo.

  Columbus County elections board hears protest of 2018 sheriff’s race, testimony to continue Thursday

Nearly five months after Election Day, the Columbus County Board of Elections is considering an election protest in the race between Jody Greene and Lewis Hatcher.

  Absentee voting opens in North Carolina’s 9th district

With a little more than six weeks until a special primary election, North Carolina’s 9th congressional district is back where it all began: absentee voting.

  Acting sheriff fired deputies despite uncertain election results

In the midst of unprecedented confusion in Columbus County over who should be serving as sheriff, some deputies have been terminated from their job. While North Carolina law generally gives sheriffs broad latitude to fire at will, pending legal challenges bring the recent firings under scrutiny.

  Columbus County BOE sets hearing in disputed sheriff’s race

The board was required by the North Carolina State Board of Elections to hold a hearing into the election protest of Gloria Smith and report back findings by April 5.

  State board sends sheriff’s election protest back to Columbus County, requires officials to take up residency issue

The dispute over the Columbus County sheriff's race is headed back to local officials.

  NCSBE wants ‘fresh start’ in Bladen County, declines to appoint former county elections board members

In order to accomplish that, the NCSBE declined to appoint a full slate of members to the Bladen County Board of Elections because several nominees have served in the role.

NCSBE hearing on Columbus Co. sheriff’s race rescheduled as board considers sending matter back to county

The North Carolina State Board of Elections will meet by phone Thursday to consider remanding part of the issues detailed in a protest appeal back to the Columbus County.

  Protecting your voice: Restoring voter confidence in the wake of election fraud

After election fraud put the national spotlight on Southeastern North Carolina, WECT Investigates took a look at how other Cape Fear area counties fared in 2018.

  NC9 Special Election: Final list of candidates determined

The stage is set for the new election in North Carolina’s 9th congressional district.

  Search warrants indicate SBI tailed Dowless during 2018 election

Months before his absentee activities would make national headlines, Leslie McCrae Dowless was being followed by the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation.

  McCrae Dowless received absentee ballot data from Columbus County

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

Fifth arrest made on election-related crimes connected to NC-9 investigation

Two women have now been arrested on election-related crimes connected to the investigation into election fraud in North Carolina’s 9th District.

  New 9th district election, Bladen County re-dos scheduled

It will be September, if not November, before we know who will serve in North Carolina’s 9th congressional district.

  Town commissioner at odds with Bladen sheriff, connected to 9th district figure, voluntarily closes electronic gaming business to avoid raid

The criminal and civil matters have stretched on for years, and the disagreement between a Dublin town commissioner and the Bladen County Sheriff came up during the state's election fraud investigation. But now, at least one chapter is closed.

  NCSBE hearing into Columbus County sheriff’s race postponed; attorneys allowed to gather more evidence

The new date for the hearing is March 18.

  State elections board to schedule new NC9 election, discuss Columbus County Sheriff protest

The roughly 788,000 people of North Carolina’s 9th congressional district will soon have a date to mark on their calendars for the special election for the seat.

  Central figure in election fraud investigation indicted on seven charges

McCrae Dowless has been indicted on seven charges in connection to an investigation into absentee ballot irregularities in the NC District 9 general election.

Chief deputy serving as sheriff despite settlement agreement

Deputy Chief Aaron Herring is running the Columbus County Sheriff’s Office, according to the Whiteville News Reporter.

NC9 fallout: Candidates look ahead to running in local races, again

The races for Bladen County Commission District 3, Bladen County Soil and Water Conservation District Supervisor and U.S. House of Representatives District 9 will now be re-run. The NCSBE is expected to vote on a schedule in the coming weeks.

  Mark Harris announces he will not run in NC District 9 special election

Harris, who was the unofficial winner of the 9th District election in November, made the announcement just days after a four-day hearing into alleged election fraud held by the North Carolina State Board of Elections.

State will monitor new elections in Bladen County

The hearing into election fraud in parts of North Carolina’s 9th congressional district might be over — but the work in Bladen County is just beginning.

State records contradict sheriff’s candidate’s address history

Documents unearthed through a subpoena appear to show contradictory information about when Columbus County Sheriff candidate Jody Greene lived in that county. Greene's residency is the subject of an ongoing challenge to his legal eligibility to serve as sheriff.

Former Gov. Pat McCrory announces he will not run for 9th District seat

Former Gov. Pat McCrory announced Monday he will not to run for the seat in North Carolina’s 9th congressional district.

  NC9 hearing day 4: State board unanimously votes to hold new election

The state board voted 5-0 to hold a new election for the 9th Congressional district seat, Bladen County Commission District 3, and Bladen County’s Soil and Water Conservation District supervisor. The board did not set a schedule for when the election would happen.

  Day 3 of NC9 hearing: Son of Mark Harris says he found McCrae Dowless suspicious; Red Dome leader continues testimony

The North Carolina State Board of Elections’ hearing drags on with no end in sight as new information emerges about exactly who was suspicious of the absentee ballot activity in Bladen County, and when they became aware.

  NC9 hearing day 2: Witness indicates early vote totals leaked, Red Dome leader testifies

Day two of the North Carolina State Elections Board hearing into possible election fraud in District 9.

  NC9 hearing: McCrae Dowless, man at the center of the investigation into election fraud, refuses to testify as state presents evidence

An evidentiary hearing is underway at the North Carolina State Bar as the state board of elections weeds through the results of its election fraud investigation.

  With hearing set to begin, a look back at the election fraud investigation

The North Carolina State Board of Elections will take up the query into alleged fraud in the state’s 9th district and beyond on Monday, Feb. 18, but the road to the Raleigh hearing has been long and winding.

  Final documents set stage for election fraud hearing

On Tuesday, Feb. 12, parties on both sides of the aisle submitted their final argument briefs for consideration, as well as a list of witnesses attorneys intend to call.

  State concerned over Columbus County board’s dismissal of election protest on technicality

Email from State Board of Elections attorney Joshua Lawson to Columbus County attorney Amanda Prince raises questions about the Columbus County Board of Elections' handling of a protest filed in the sheriff’s race.

  Hatcher, Greene reach settlement over disputed sheriff seat; lawsuit officially dismissed

Jody Greene will remain acting sheriff in Columbus County for at least a few more days.

  Hatcher dismissing lawsuit, Greene stepping aside as acting sheriff in Columbus Co.

Attorneys released a joint statement late Thursday night from Lewis Hatcher and Jody Greene. They've reached an agreement that results in Hatcher dismissing his lawsuit and Greene stepping aside as acting sheriff while state elections officials resolve pending elections protests.

  Harris team asks for subpoenas for Dowless, other key players in 9th district investigation

The legal team for Republican Mark Harris wants several key players in the investigation into alleged election fraud in Bladen County and beyond to appear in person at the hearing scheduled for Feb. 18.

  Citing election fraud hearing, lack of information, NCSBE will not appoint new members to election boards in Bladen, Columbus counties

Two counties in Southeastern North Carolina will remain without a county board of elections for the immediate future.

  Despite no evidence of building permits, Greene files documents saying he is building dream home on property

The documents also show more than 40 people in the Cerro Gordo area submitted affidavits claiming Greene lives on the property.

NCSBE sets hearing for election fraud investigation

More than two months after originally putting the certification of North Carolina’s 9th congressional district race on hold, there is finally a date-certain for learning an outcome.

  Cooper names new state board of elections

A month after a court ruling dissolved the nine-member North Carolina State Board of Elections, the new version of the board finally has its members.

  Greene pays $25K bond to keep sheriff’s seat, for now

Acting Columbus County Sheriff Jody Greene has posted a $25,000 bond to keep his seat as sheriff, for now. Wake County Superior Court Judge Graham Shirley ordered Greene to pay that bond as part of an ongoing legal dispute over who is the rightful sheriff of Columbus County.

  Grange named co-chair of state House elections committee

A New Hanover County state representative was given a key leadership role in the North Carolina General Assembly.

  Greene has yet to post required $25K bond in dispute over rightful sheriff

Attorneys for Lewis Hatcher have filed documents requesting detailed financial information, property records, and personnel records for Jody Greene in their attempt to prove Hatcher should still be serving as Columbus County sheriff.

  Judge denies request to certify NC-9 race

Wake County Superior Court Judge Paul Ridgeway will consider a petition from Republican Mark Harris for a Writ of Mandamus, a request asking the court to force the North Carolina State Board of Elections and Ethics Enforcement to certify him as the winner of the contest.

Woman’s ballot thought to be missing was actually counted; state cites clerical error

Patrick Gannon, spokesperson for the state agency, said it was a clerical error that led to the belief Herring’s vote was not counted.

McCready campaign, NCSBE call for Harris petition to be dismissed

Wake County Superior Court has not set a date to hear a petition from Republican Mark Harris — but the stage is set for one.

  Hearing scheduled in dispute over rightful sheriff of Columbus County

A judge from another jurisdiction is heading to Columbus County this week to hear arguments that Lewis Hatcher should be reinstated as Sheriff.

  Advocacy groups hold rally over election fraud investigation delay

Voters and leaders of advocacy groups from across North Carolina gathered in Raleigh on Friday to express their frustration with the delays in the election fraud investigation.

In new affidavit, Bladen Elections chairman says staff found forged absentee ballot request forms

The Chairman of the Bladen County Board of Elections filed a new affidavit, made public for the first time Friday, that said staff at the county board of elections found three absentee ballot request forms submitted in the 2018 general election that had been forged.

  Experts say uncertainty in 9th district could last months

Experts in North Carolina’s political landscape and election law say no matter which path the investigation goes down, the process will likely take months.

Mark Harris runs from reporters at government building in Charlotte

Republican Mark Harris ran from a group of reporters and set off a fire alarm at the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Government building Monday night.

  Community members pack commissioners meeting discussing sheriff’s legitimacy

Supporters for Columbus County Sheriff Jody Greene and former Sheriff Lewis Hatcher packed the Dempsey B. Herring Courthouse Annex on Monday night for the first county commissioners meeting since questions were raised about the legitimacy of Greene’s win in the November general election.

  Hatcher files motion to be reinstated as sheriff

Taking matters into his own hands, former Columbus County Sheriff Lewis Hatcher on Friday filed an injunction requesting a judge revoke the recently elected sheriff’s powers and allow him to resume the role of the top law enforcement officer in the county.

  Harris files request for court order demanding he be certified in 9th district

On Nov. 30, the North Carolina State Board of Elections voted 7-2 to not certify Harris, who unofficially leads the race for the seat against Democrat Dan McCready by 905 votes, as the winner of the contest.

  Harris plans to file legal action seeking certification in NC-9 election

The campaign of Republican Mark Harris said he plans to file a legal challenge on Thursday that will ask a court to order he immediately be certified as the winner of the 9th Congressional District election.

  Election fraud hearing postponed; Cooper will not appoint new board, calls lack of GOP support ‘obstruction’

There will be no new state board of elections — at least for the time being.