RALEIGH, N.C. — Kelly Hendrix was recruited into an illicit effort to sway a congressional race by a customer at the fast-food restaurant where she worked.
One day, Ms. Hendrix was serving burgers and biscuits at a Hardee’s in Bladen County. Soon after that, she was engaged in political shenanigans at the behest of her customer, L. McCrae Dowless Jr., a veteran campaign operative in a rural pocket of southeastern North Carolina where one in four people lives below the poverty line.
“He resembled my dad so much that I just connected with him,” Ms. Hendrix said in tear-filled testimony this week before the North Carolina State Board of Elections, which is investigating the rogue voter-turnout effort that Mr. Dowless oversaw last year for the Republican candidate for Congress in the Ninth District, now the site of the last unsettled House race of the midterm elections.
And so in 2016, Ms. Hendrix went to work for Mr. Dowless, a former car salesman, and collected absentee ballot request forms from Bladen County voters. Two years later, she was picking up more request forms — and, improperly, absentee ballots — that she ferried back to Mr. Dowless in exchange for cash “for gas and stuff like that,” she said.
With a congressional seat now in the balance, sworn testimony this week in the North Carolina capital has illuminated the inner workings of Mr. Dowless’s precise but amateurish operation, an almost fly-by-night enterprise that paid about for every collected absentee ballot request and .50 for each collected absentee ballot. The scheme has called into question whether Mark Harris, the Republican candidate, really outpolled his Democratic opponent, Dan McCready.
Witnesses have described a scheme that was at once on the books and under the radar, and a network filled not with seasoned, ideological activists, but with acquaintances and relatives of Mr. Dowless who needed cash and asked few questions.
Guided by the slight, bearded man once celebrated as a local “guru of elections,” they swept up unsealed or incomplete ballots and returned them in batches to Mr. Dowless, who was working on behalf of the Harris campaign. They sometimes filled in ballots, or signed as witnesses for voters they never met, in an ink color specifically chosen so it would not arouse suspicion at local elections offices.
But worries did emerge after November’s balloting, especially in Bladen County, where Mr. Harris won 61 percent of the received absentee ballots, even though registered Republicans accounted for only 19 percent of the ballots submitted. Mr. Harris had a 905-vote lead over Mr. McCready when state officials refused to certify his victory because of concerns about fraud.
Law enforcement officials are now examining Mr. Dowless’s operation and could ultimately bring charges against him and his associates. But the five-member elections board is also weighing whether Mr. Dowless’s behavior amounted to “irregularities or improprieties” that were so damaging that they tainted the entire election.
The board’s decision, which could come this week, might prompt a new election and is certain to reverberate through the Ninth District and into Congress.
[Read: In North Carolina, Investigators Find Ballot ‘Scheme’ in House Race]
Mr. Dowless, 63, who has a criminal record that includes felony convictions for perjury and fraud and has worked for politicians in both parties, has declined repeated requests for interviews, and, through his lawyer, refused on Monday to testify before the state board. The panel’s chairman warned that the board could still “take negative inferences concerning his actions.”
On Wednesday, one of Mr. Harris’s sons, John Harris, testified that he had warned his father in April 2017 about his misgivings about Mr. Dowless, whose work had been scrutinized by the state just months earlier. John Harris said he had become suspicious after analyzing returns from a 2016 campaign that his father had lost — and that included a candidate who had hired Mr. Dowless.
“The key thing that I am fairly certain they do that is illegal is that they collected the completed absentee ballots and mail them all at once,” John Harris wrote in an email to his parents on April 7, 2017, one day after Mark Harris, a longtime pastor then considering a 2018 run, met with Mr. Dowless and was told that his “absentee ballot program” was fully legal.
“They believed what McCrae assured them,” John Harris said of his parents on Wednesday. “I didn’t.”
The elder Mr. Harris, who sometimes wiped away tears as his son testified, and who is expected to take the stand himself on Thursday, hired Mr. Dowless anyway. During the closely fought primary and general elections that followed, tens of thousands of dollars in fees and reimbursements passed from Mr. Harris’s campaign to a consultant to Mr. Dowless.
“He sounded like somebody who knew the law very well, he sounded like somebody who knew his county very well, who kept good records, was well organized, knew who was likely to request absentee ballots in his county,” Andy Yates, the Harris campaign’s chief strategist, said under oath on Tuesday. “He sounded like he had run all the traps.”
He also seemed like an operative who knew his workers were interested in money, not public policy. He would often drive to Mr. Yates’s office near Charlotte, several hours from Bladen County, to pick up checks that he could cash to pay his associates.
“He felt like they needed to be paid as soon as they were done or they wouldn’t come back,” Mr. Yates said.
At least one worker, Lisa Britt, had been lured by family ties. As Mr. Dowless’s stepdaughter, she said she deeply trusted the man who had married her mother in the late 1980s.
“I didn’t think my father would send me out to do anything illegal,” she said during hours of testimony on Monday.
But by that moment, Ms. Britt had already testified to a catalog of apparent crimes.
“If some of the things hadn’t been filled in, we would fill in the ones who had not been filled in,” she said, adding that she and others worked on ballots at Mr. Dowless’s home or office in a bid to keep elections officials from noticing ballots that mostly included votes for races in which he was working.
“I saw someone else mark a blank ballot that wasn’t their own,” she said minutes later, before acknowledging that she had signed her name as a witness when she had, in fact, seen nothing.
Mr. Dowless, she said, had constructed a careful system to avoid detection. Ballots were mailed from post offices near the homes of voters, and they were sent only in small batches, maybe nine or 10 at a time.
All told, she said, she probably collected 35 to 40 ballots and altered fewer than a dozen. To her, the work was never about Mr. Harris, but about the cash that awaited.
“I never tried to personally steer anyone as to how to vote because, personally, it didn’t really benefit us either way as far as the workers because we were getting paid by the amount,” she said.
The effort unraveled soon enough, and the fate of the House seat — one held by Republicans since 1963 — has been called into question.
Amid the scrutiny, Mr. Dowless convened some of his workers for a brief meeting, Ms. Britt said. He had a simple message that reflected their shared, fast-mounting legal peril.
“As long as we all stick together,” Ms. Britt remembered Mr. Dowless saying, “we’ll all be fine because they don’t have anything on us.”
State officials contend that Mr. Dowless tried as recently as this month to pressure Ms. Britt to keep what occurred under wraps.
“I can tell you that I haven’t done anything wrong in the election, and McCrae Dowless has never told me to do anything wrong, and to my knowledge he has never done anything wrong,” Mr. Dowless wanted Ms. Britt to say, according to a proposed script that elections officials displayed on large screens during her testimony.
But when a state board lawyer asked whether she or Mr. Dowless had broken the law, Ms. Britt replied: “Did I know I was doing wrong? No ma’am, I didn’t, but yeah, I do feel like I have done wrong.”B:
2017年藏宝图记录【包】【不】【鸣】【从】【大】【洛】【城】【的】【南】【面】【悄】【悄】【地】【绕】【到】【东】【面】，【他】【小】【看】【了】【这】【两】【个】【公】【会】【的】【实】【力】，【或】【者】【更】【准】【确】【的】【说】【是】【忆】【隆】【阁】【大】【东】【和】【蛇】【蝎】【的】【势】【力】。 【他】【们】【二】【人】【不】【过】【是】【公】【会】【里】【的】【一】【方】【领】【队】，【就】【能】【在】【这】【个】【时】【候】【调】【动】【至】【少】【一】【百】【人】【的】【队】【伍】【才】【围】【剿】【自】【己】…… 【看】【着】【大】【洛】【城】【外】【三】【五】【人】【为】【一】【小】【队】【的】【巡】【逻】【身】【影】，【包】【不】【鸣】【没】【有】【办】【法】【靠】【近】【这】【座】【城】【市】。 【借】【着】【夜】【里】【的】【凉】【风】
【制】【片】【人】，【跟】【组】【编】【剧】，【美】【术】【指】【导】【等】【等】，【可】【以】【说】【剧】【组】【叫】【的】【上】【号】【的】【人】【都】【站】【在】【了】【这】【边】。 【当】【白】【苏】【看】【到】【魏】【旻】【的】【时】【候】，【现】【场】【就】【是】【这】【么】【一】【副】【热】【闹】【的】【景】【象】。 【很】【高】【逼】【格】【的】【欢】【迎】【仪】【式】，【这】【大】【概】【也】【是】【名】【气】【与】【实】【力】【的】【具】【象】【化】【体】【现】【吧】！ 【白】【苏】【缀】【在】【后】【面】【等】【了】【一】【会】【儿】，【也】【没】【有】【立】【刻】【上】【赶】【着】【就】【挤】【进】【去】，【等】【到】【前】【面】【的】【摄】【影】【组】【组】【长】【招】【呼】【完】，【她】【才】【不】【急】【不】
【王】【府】【之】【中】【现】【在】【这】【么】【多】【的】【妃】【嫔】，【每】【一】【个】【人】【都】【有】【自】【己】【的】【鬼】【心】【思】，【如】【今】【肖】【冬】【雪】【如】【果】【不】【找】【一】【个】【帮】【手】，【她】【们】【身】【后】【没】【有】【一】【个】【靠】【山】，【她】【们】【以】【后】【也】【别】【想】【在】【王】【府】【平】【安】【无】【事】【活】【着】，【张】【梦】【莹】【和】【萧】【曼】【冬】【今】【天】【的】【确】【是】【败】【了】，【但】【有】【些】【事】【她】【们】【也】【并】【没】【有】【败】【得】【彻】【底】，【她】【们】【还】【是】【会】【有】【东】【山】【再】【起】【的】【机】【会】，【而】【她】【们】【如】【果】【没】【有】【一】【个】【人】【接】【近】【楚】【云】【熙】【没】【有】【得】【到】【王】【爷】【的】【宠】【爱】，2017年藏宝图记录“【你】【信】【也】【好】【不】【信】【也】【好】，【这】【里】【是】【事】【实】，【爱】【你】【的】【历】【南】【歌】【已】【经】【死】【了】，【死】【在】【三】【个】【月】【前】【了】。 【如】【今】【的】【历】【南】【歌】【不】【爱】【你】，【你】【明】【白】【吗】？” 【历】【南】【歌】【冷】【冷】【的】【说】，【林】【妙】【言】【看】【着】【历】【南】【歌】【冷】【若】【冰】【霜】【的】【眼】【睛】。 “【历】【南】【歌】，【你】【从】【一】【醒】【来】【就】【跟】【我】【说】【和】【离】，【到】【如】【今】【却】【拿】【这】【么】【一】【个】【冠】【冕】【堂】【皇】【的】【理】【由】【来】【搪】【塞】【我】。 【以】【死】【之】【名】【逼】【和】【离】，【历】【南】【歌】【你】【究】【竟】【有】【什】
“【你】……”【法】【则】【的】【声】【音】【忽】【然】【惊】【疑】【不】【定】【起】【来】：“【你】【并】【非】【筑】【基】【初】【期】！【是】【宝】【物】？” “【对】【啊】。”【对】【方】【乃】【是】【法】【则】，【并】【非】【这】【世】【上】【的】【任】【何】【一】【个】【人】，【聂】【云】【婳】【倒】【是】【没】【有】【太】【多】【顾】【忌】，【径】【直】【望】【向】【虚】【空】【道】：“【是】【幻】【梦】【霜】【花】，【一】【个】【隐】【藏】【修】【为】【的】【宝】【物】。” “【那】【么】，【法】【则】，【你】【既】【然】【并】【非】【是】【这】【世】【上】【之】【人】，【可】【看】【得】【出】【我】【身】【上】【旁】【的】【秘】【密】？” 【聂】【云】【婳】【早】
【冷】【贤】【远】【自】【然】【听】【出】【了】【小】【女】【儿】【话】【中】【的】【含】【义】，【但】【他】【还】【是】【憋】【憋】【嘴】，【摇】【头】：“【不】【行】！”【但】【这】【一】【次】【的】【语】【气】【明】【显】【没】【有】【上】【一】【次】【的】【底】【气】【足】。 【简】【爸】【不】【顾】【简】【妈】【的】【拉】【衣】【角】【的】【动】【作】，【态】【度】【也】【很】【坚】【持】：“【那】【就】【比】【一】【场】！【谁】【赢】【谁】【带】【之】【之】【入】【场】。” “【哼】！【比】【就】【比】！【我】【一】【定】【会】【赢】【你】【的】。” 【言】【罢】，【两】【人】【往】【隔】【壁】【房】【间】【走】【去】。 【众】【人】【脸】【上】【皆】【是】【一】【阵】【茫】【然】
【穆】【嘉】【言】【这】【会】【儿】【最】【烦】【有】【人】【对】【她】【拉】【拉】【扯】【扯】。 【很】【明】【显】【她】【都】【已】【经】【这】【么】【痛】【苦】，【还】【来】【欺】【负】【她】。 【抬】【起】【拳】【头】【正】【准】【备】【反】【抗】。 【看】【着】【那】【个】【人】【的】【一】【瞬】【间】，【忘】【记】【了】【自】【己】【的】【初】【衷】。 【满】【眼】【的】【不】【可】【置】【信】。 【眼】【泪】【在】【眼】【眶】【里】【打】【转】，【倔】【强】【地】【不】【肯】【掉】【落】。 【她】【的】【手】【指】【在】【轻】【轻】【地】【颤】【抖】，【抬】【起】【胳】【膊】【慢】【慢】【碰】【上】【他】【的】【脸】。 【小】【心】【翼】【翼】【地】【轻】【点】【了】【一】【下】，