Democracy has been Wronged


Our own Congressional district is being reported on by a slew of national news outlets as more evidence of voter fraud comes to light, the congressional election not having been yet decided. Reports of absentee ballot tampering in Bladen and Robeson counties have caused the North Carolina State Board of Elections to unanimously vote against certifying Republican Mark Harris’s victory over Democrat Dan McCready. Last month’s election ended with an unofficial margin of under 1,000 votes, giving McCready the option to request a recount. Instead of fighting for what may have been a lost cause, he chose to concede. Following the news of election fraud, Dan McCready released the following statement:

“I didn’t serve overseas in the Marines to come home to NC and watch a criminal, bankrolled by my opponent, take away people’s very right to vote. Today I withdraw my concession and call on Mark Harris to end his silence and tell us exactly what he knew, and when.”

This sharp reaction from McCready is likely only the beginning, as more and more details of the scandal are unveiled, and with new developments come new questions. If election tampering did in fact take place, who is to blame? How do we move forward in the face of unprecedented obstruction of democracy?

The important names and faces of this controversy go beyond the two candidates. Perhaps the most crucial figure is McCrae Dowless, an operative allegedly paid to throw the election on Harris’s behalf. While his official duty was reportedly to help increase voter turnout, many believe he had a hand in the transportation (or lack thereof) of absentee ballots. Of the 1300 absentee ballots requested by the voters of Bladen county, only half of them were returned for counting. This is very concerning news, as Dowless worked for a consulting firm hired by the Harris campaign. It is currently unclear if Mark Harris was at all aware of the malfeasance that likely occurred.

While McCready maintains that Harris knowingly allowed campaign fraud, the Republicans tell a very different story. A top NC party official referred to Mark Harris as an “innocent victim”, claiming he was not aware of any illegal activity. Some reports also suggest that similar issues also took place during the primaries, in which Harris defeated incumbent Republican Robert Pittenger. Despite this, North Carolina GOP executive director Dallas Woodhouse says the Republicans would not oppose a new election.

There is currently a NC legislative bill in the works to resolve these issues, but state representatives say a new primary is off the table. This would have been the ideal solution, as republican voters deserve the opportunity to choose a new nominee, especially considering concerns surrounding the original primary. If republicans nominated a new candidate with a clean record to face off against Dan McCready, though it would certainly take time, would be well worth clearing our district of a fraudulent election. This is an especially smart move for republicans, because otherwise they are stuck with a nominee who likely directed a plot to deny voters their right to have a say in who represents them.

Election fraud should be worth more than merely a recount. If investigations prove that Mark Harris was aware of ‘stealing the vote’, he should not be allowed to remain a candidate, let alone ascend to the House of Representatives. What allegedly took place was blatantly ignorant of the rights and values we as Americans hold dear. When the people of Bladen and Robeson counties were asked who they felt was the best person to represent their district to the nation, many of them were not allowed an answer. If even one vote is ignored, democracy is being ignored. If North Carolina misses it’s chance to solve this problem before it’s too late, voters will lose confidence in the institutions meant to speak for them.