No one has called the North Carolina governor’s race between incumbent Governor Pat McCrory (R) and his challenger Roy Cooper (D) since only 5,000 votes separate the two. To make matters worse, there are now allegations of voter fraud on absentee ballots:

A protest has been filed in Bladen County alleging that a handful of people may have improperly submitted hundreds of absentee ballots, while also getting paid for get-out-the-vote efforts by a community group funded by the N.C. Democratic Party.

According to the protest filed by McCrae Dowless, who won election as soil and water district supervisor, the handwriting on a number of ballots and the signatures of some mail-in absentee witnesses were similar. He said the questioned ballots seem to have been cast in favor of a straight ticket of candidates and also to vote for a man named Franklin Graham, who ran a write-in campaign for soil and water district supervisor.

A letter the Bladen County elections board wrote to the State Board of Elections, and attached to the complaint, raises the same concerns. While some ballots listed witnesses, few include the documentation that would be required if someone had also assisted the voters, according to the letter.

“These are not simply helpful individuals who have attempted to assist a large swath of Bladen County’s voters to cast their ballots,” Dowless wrote. “This is the shocking evidence resulting from a blatant scheme to try to impact the voting results of an entire county and perhaps even sway statewide and federal elections.”

The complaint does not mention the governor’s race, but McCrory’s campaign released this statement in an email:

“A massive voting fraud scheme has been uncovered in Bladen County,” McCrory’s campaign manager said in an emailed solicitation for financial contributions. “Hundreds of absentee ballots appear to have been fraudulently cast for Roy Cooper and other Democrats. Initial evidence shows that a North Carolina Democrat Party-funded group may have paid people to cast fraudulent votes to tip this election to Roy Cooper!”

McCrory has also demanded a recount in Durham County due to massive problems on Election Day, that drew criticism from both sides of the aisle. Thomas stark, the general counsel for the North Carolina GOP, filed the protest:

“What transpired in Durham County is extremely troubling and no citizen can have confidence in the results at this point in time,” said Jason Torchinsky, chief legal counsel for the Pat McCrory Committee Legal Defense Fund. “The Durham County Board of Elections has a history of mishandling elections and it is unfortunate that this one appears to be no different.”

Bethesda Ruritan Club had to shut down its polls for 90 minutes because the workers ran out of forms, causing people to miss out on voting. Electronic devices in the county malfunctioned, which meant poll workers had to hand out paper forms. These problems had Superior Court Judge Donald Stephens declare that the county “historically hasn’t figured out how to carry out an election properly.”

Officials didn’t count 90,000 early votes until late on Election Day, which caused the flip from McCrory to Cooper. This immediately raised eyebrows within the McCrory campaign with “the sudden emergence of over 90,000 votes.”

The State Bureau of Investigation has also opened an investigation “into whether crimes were committed in last spring’s primary election in Durham County.”

But now the Board of Elections will travel through the “counties to double check the results.” The officials hope to have an official count by November 29. But if they decide to do a recount it could take longer.


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