Two women in North Carolina have come forward to say that Leslie McCrae Dowless Jr. — a well-known figure in local North Carolina politics, convicted of felony fraud in the 1990s — paid them to pick up absentee ballots from voters and bring them to his office.
Neither woman knows what happened to the ballots after they were turned over.
The candidate Dowless supported? Republican Mark Harris, who is still demanding that election night results be certified so he can take a seat in the U.S. House in January.
Dowless, who goes by McCrae, is a fixture in local North Carolina politics. He was elected vice chair of the Bladen County Soil and Water Conservation District, and has been attached to numerous Republican campaigns throughout the years, including the Harris campaign in 2018.
But Dowless is also a well-known convict. He served a six month prison sentence in the 1990s for a felony fraud conviction, and was indicted for perjury. His criminal record stretches back to the 1980s, and he has been implicated in previous schemes to illegally collect unreturned absentee ballots, most recently in 2016.
On Monday, local television station WSOCTV caught up with Ginger Eason, one of the canvassers whose signature frequently appeared on accepted absentee ballots as a witness. She told a reporter that she was paid between $75 and $100 per week by Dowless to pick up absentee ballots from around Bladen County.
Eason said she did not mail any of the ballots she collected, turning them over to Dowless instead. What he did with them afterward, she did not know.
WSOCTV tracked down a second woman who said she also collected absentee ballots for Dowless, and like Eason, Cheryl Kinlaw said she didn’t mail the ballots either.