Up & Coming Weekly

January 01, 2019

Up and Coming Weekly is a weekly publication in Fayetteville, NC and Fort Bragg, NC area offering local news, views, arts, entertainment and community event and business information.

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Page 10 of 28

10 UCW JANUARY 2-8, 2019 WWW.UPANDCOMINGWEEKLY.COM Since election day last month, there has been a slow ripple of revelations about 9th Congressional District get- out-the-vote conduct in Bladen Coun- ty, the small, eastern-most county in the 9th district. e North Carolina congressional election is the only one in the nation still pending because of allegations of election fraud. Bladen County businessman Mc- Crae Dowless is the central figure in an alleged conspiracy being investi- gated by the State Board of Elections. Some officials are calling for a new 9th district election because of multiple examples of potentially criminal be- havior by Dowless. At issue is an apparent 905-vote margin of nearly 283,000 votes cast be- tween the Republican and Democratic candidates for Congress. e vote as it stands favors Republican Mark Harris over Democrat Dan McCready. Dowless has no political party allegiance. He has supported Demo- crats in the past. Dowless is accused of having workers collect dozens of mail-in absentee ballots from residents before they were filled in, which violates the law. e attention in the 9th district is not always on Republican partisan conduct. A political action commit- tee with an unofficial affiliation with the North Carolina Democratic Party had two paid staffers who served as witnesses for more than 100 absentee ballots. Also, a Democratic member of the Bladen County Board of Elections was once a business partner of Dow- less. e local elections board is being examined by the state for potential conflicts of interest. Dr. Michael Bitzer is a political sci- entist at Catawba College in Salisbury, North Carolina. He is considered one of the nation's leading scholars on the American presidency. Bitzer found that many more North Carolinians returned absentee ballots than four years ago. And there was a distinct partisan difference in the voting than in years past as well. Bitzer noted that, historically, a low percentage of absentee ballots in the 9th district is returned compared to other districts in the state. is time, Bladen County had twice the number of absentee ballots on average than most other counties. Bitzer's analysis suggested additional aberrations. In seven of the eight counties in the 9th District, for example, Mc- Cready got a lopsided majority of absentee ballots. But not in Bladen County. ere, Harris won 61 percent of the vote, even though registered Republicans initially received few of the county's accepted absentee bal- lots. Most of the unreturned ballots belonged to African-American and Native American voters. e United States is divided into 435 congressional districts, each with a population of about 710,000 indi- viduals. States with larger populations have greater representation. Each dis- trict elects a member to the U.S. House of Representatives for a two-year term. e 8th and 9th Congressional districts adjoin each other and stretch along the South Carolina border to Mecklenburg County and a small por- tion of Gaston County. Cumberland County is split in half and is shared by both districts. Fort Bragg is part of the 8th district. 9th Congressional district election under investigation by JEFF THOMPSON NEWS McCrae Dowless JEFF THOMPSON, Reporter. COMMENTS? Editor@upandcom- ingweekly.com. 910-484-6200. Advertising Grow Your Business For effective advertising, Call 910.484.6200 today! www.upandcomingweekly.com

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