Ginger Eason said she never mailed the ballots, but gave them to McCrae Dowless, who serves as vice chair on the board of the Bladen County Soil and Water Conservation District and reportedly has a criminal record for felony fraud. She said Dowless never told her that what she was doing is illegal.
Gathering of absentee ballots by a third party is illegal under North Carolina law. Dowless was reportedly working for an outside firm hired by the campaign of Republican Mark Harris, whose incredibly close win over Democrat Dan McCready has not been certified, as the North Carolina Board of Elections investigates "claims of irregularities and fraudulent activities related to absentee by-mail voting."
According to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, "red flags were raised when Harris won Bladen County with 61% of the absentee by-mail ballots cast in that county — even though the ballots came from voters who were only 19% Republican."
"This was fraud perpetrated by campaign operatives," Michael McDonald, an elections expert at the University of Florida, told AJC. "Election fraud might be a better way to phrase it."
The North Carolina Board of Elections is planning to hold a public hearing on the issue on December 21.