North Carolina Republican operative charged in election fraud scheme


(Reuters) – The North Carolina Republican political operative at the center of an absentee ballot fraud scheme that led the state to order a rerun of a congressional election was arrested and charged with obstruction of justice on Wednesday, officials said.

The operative, Leslie McCrae Dowless, was charged with three felony counts of obstruction of justice, two counts of conspiring to commit obstruction of justice and two counts of possession of absentee ballots, according to court documents.

Allegations that operatives working for Dowless illegally collected, and sometimes filled in, absentee ballots on behalf of Republican Mark Harris’ campaign emerged shortly after the Nov. 6 election. They caused the state to hold off certifying Harris’ apparent narrow victory over Democrat Dan McCready.

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