7 arrested in connection to 9th District absentee ballot fraud investigation

BLADENBORO, N.C. (WTVD) -- Seven people have turned themselves in amid an investigation into alleged absentee ballot fraud in Bladen County.

This comes after a Wake County grand jury on Tuesday returned indictments on the individuals allegedly involved in the scheme.

Among them is Leslie McCrae Dowless, the political operative at the center of the case. He was charged with felony obstruction of justice, perjury, felony solicitation to commit perjury, conspiracy to commit felony obstruction of justice and possession of absentee ballot.

Others charged include: Lisa M. Britt, Ginger S. Eason, Woody D. Hester, James R. Singletary, Jessica H. Dowless and Kelly Hendrix.

They all turned themselves in to agents with the SBI's Special Investigations Unit at the Bladen County Sheriff's Office on Wednesday.

They will appear in court on Monday in Wake County.

The State Board of Elections, which ordered a new election in the 9th District, issued the following statement Tuesday:

Today's indictments are a product of an extensive investigation by the State Board of Elections, Wake County District Attorney Lorrin Freeman's office and the State Bureau of Investigation.

The State Board has a dedicated division that investigates reports of election law violations and refers them to prosecutors when warranted by the evidence, as it did in this case.
The absentee ballot fraud that occurred in the 9th Congressional District effectively disenfranchised voters in that district.
North Carolina voters should be confident that state officials will continue to be vigilant and pursue any individuals or organizations that attempt to undermine our elections. Democracy is best served by holding those who attempt to thwart it accountable.


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