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Central figure in North Carolina absentee ballot fraud indicted on multiple counts

Image: Leslie McCrae Dowless
Leslie McCrae Dowless poses for a portrait outside of his home in Bladenboro, North Carolina on Dec. 5, 2018. Copyright Travis Long The News and Observer via AP file
Copyright Travis Long The News and Observer via AP file
By Leigh Ann Caldwell with NBC News Politics
Published on
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McCrae Dowless is charged with felonious obstruction of justice, conspiracy to commit federal obstruction of justice and possession of absentee ballots.

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WASHINGTON — Leslie McCrae Dowless, the political operative alleged to have run an illegal absentee ballot-gathering operation on behalf of GOP congressional candidate Mark Harris in 2018, was indicted on three criminal charges Wednesday charges, including felonious obstruction of justice, by a Wake County grand jury.

The indictment states that he is charged with three counts: felonious obstruction of justice, conspiracy to commit federal obstruction of justice and possession of absentee ballots.

Leslie McCrae Dowless poses for a portrait outside of his home in Bladenboro, North Carolina on Dec. 5, 2018.
Leslie McCrae Dowless poses for a portrait outside of his home in Bladenboro, North Carolina on Dec. 5, 2018.Travis Long

Dowless was hired by Harris to run an absentee ballot operation in the 2018 midterm election in two rural counties in the southeastern part of the state.

After a four-day hearing by the North Carolina Board of Elections, the board unanimously voted to hold a new election in the race because of the taint the controversy has placed on the election.

Harris announced on Monday that he would not run in the new election, citing poor health.

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