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Election Fraud Scandal: McCrae Dowless Dies Of Cancer

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McCrae Dowless
McCrae Dowless

Leslie McCrae Dowless, a Republican political operative whose role in what state officials called an electoral fraud plot in Bladen County made national headlines in 2018, has died, according to his lawyer, Cynthia Singletary.

He was 66 years old at the time. Dowless, who was well-known in rural southern North Carolina for his political knowledge and consulting work, acquired notoriety for his role in the 2018 election for the 9th Congressional District, in which Republican Mark Harris seemed to defeat Democrat Dan McCready by less than 1,000 votes.

The legitimacy of Harris’ victory, however, was called into doubt almost immediately, with Dowless implicated in a ballot-harvesting plan that finally prompted the State Board of Elections to reject Harris’ victory and order a new election.

In 2019, another Republican, Dan Bishop, defeated McCready to take the seat.

Meanwhile, Dowless became the focus of a number of criminal investigations.

Dowless, who was 65 at the time, was sentenced to six months in jail in September 2021 for theft of government property and Social Security fraud, federal charges unrelated to the 2018 election fraud case.

Dowless was also facing state accusations of improper ballot handling, conspiracy, and obstruction of justice at the time of his death, all of which stemmed from his work on Harris’ campaign in the run-up to the 2018 race.

Enoch

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