ELIZABETHTOWN, NC (WBTV) – A new set of records obtained by WBTV from the Bladen County Board of Elections is raising new questions about an affidavit filed on behalf of a voter by attorneys for the Dan McCready campaign.
McCready lost the race for the 9th Congressional District in November to Republican Mark Harris by 905 votes.
The North Carolina State Board of Elections has refused to certify the results of the race, citing irregularities with absentee ballots in Bladen and Robeson Counties.
NCSBE staff have been investigating allegations of election fraud in the two counties since late November.
Among the documents that have been submitted to the NCSBE - and posted by the board for the public - are a set of affidavits filed by attorneys for McCready’s campaign.
The affidavits were submitted by 13 voters who each allege a suspicious fact or incident that took place during the November 2018 election.
One voter, Christopher Eason, said he gave his blank, unsealed absentee ballot to a man named McCrae Dowless, who was hired by Harris to run an absentee ballot operation in Bladen County in the 2018 election.
“Leslie McCrae Dowless Jr., also known as McCrae Dowless, came to my residence and asked that I give him my absentee ballot,” Eason wrote in his affidavit.
“I signed the absentee ballot envelope but left the ballot completely blank,” the affidavit continued. “I did not make any selections in any of the contests on the ballot.”
Records released by the NCSBE show Eason’s ballot was witnessed by his sister, Ginger Eason, and a second woman named Kim Spurling.
Ginger Eason has told BuzzFeed News and other outlets she was paid by Dowless to collect ballots and bring them to him.
The log of people who turned in absentee ballots to the Bladen County BOE show Ginger Eason submitted her brother’s ballot on October 9, 2018.
Ginger Eason did not answer a phone call from WBTV seeking comment and her voicemail box was not accepting new messages.
Christopher Eason was arrested Friday by the Bladen County Sheriff’s Office on drugs and weapons charges in a joint operation with the US Drug Enforcement Administration and the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation, the Associated Press reported Wednesday.
A number listed in election records for Spurling, the second woman who witnessed Christopher Eason’s ballot was out of service when a WBTV reporter called it Wednesday.
An attorney familiar with the affidavits filed by McCready’s campaign told WBTV the fact that Ginger Eason submitted her brother’s ballot did not mean the facts to which Christopher Eason attested are untrue.
This is the second affidavit filed by the McCready campaign to come under additional scrutiny in the wake of new information being uncovered by WBTV.
Cetire Retamar provided an affidavit that said she received an absentee ballot she didn’t request.
“I received an absentee ballot by mail which I did not request,” Retamar wrote in the affidavit.
She said the same thing at a town hall forum held in Bladen County in December.
But when a WBTV reporter showed Retamar the absentee ballot request form she filled out, she acknowledged the form contained her handwriting and signature.
The lawyer familiar with the filing from McCready’s campaign suggested Retamar’s signature could have been forged and pointed to a 1992 conviction of Dowless’ for insurance fraud, where local media reports from the time said he forged a dead man’s signature.