Suspects in 9th District ballot fraud case make initial appearance in court

Posted August 5, 2019 7:20 a.m. EDT
Updated August 5, 2019 3:19 p.m. EDT

— Seven people charged in the 9th Congressional District absentee ballot fraud scandal made their first appearances in court on Monday.

McCrae Dowless, the Bladen County political operative accused of running a ballot harvesting operation, is charged with two counts of obstruction of justice and one count each of conspiracy to obstruct justice, illegal possession of an absentee ballot, perjury and solicitation to commit perjury.

According to testimony from a State Board of Elections hearing in February, Dowless paid people to go door to door to first sign people up to vote by mail and later to collect those absentee ballots. Dowless' crew sometimes completed ballots for voters and also witnessed dozens of absentee ballots in a central office instead of in front of individual voters, witnesses said during the hearing.

It's a felony in North Carolina to take someone else's absentee ballot.

The other suspects who appeared in court Monday included Lisa Michelle Britt, Ginger Shae Eason, Kelly Hendrix, Woody Darrel Hester and James R. Singletary, all of whom were indicted on conspiracy to obstruct justice and illegal possession of an absentee ballot charges. Britt also was charged with voting as a convicted felon.

Jessica Hales Dowless was indicted on charges of conspiracy to obstruct justice and falsely certifying absentee ballots.