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Witness alleging ballot fraud in congressional race arrested

By The News · 09 of January 2019 17:07:03
FILE - In this Dec. 5, 2018 photo, Leslie McCrae Dowless Jr. poses for a portrait outside of his home in Bladenboro, N.C. A North Carolina elections investigator spent weeks in 2010 probing whether Dowless, the man at the center of a current scandal, was among a group of local political operatives allegedly buying votes. (Travis Long/The News & Observer via AP, File), No available, FILE - In this Dec. 5, 2018 photo, Leslie McCrae Dowless Jr. poses for a portrait outside of his home in Bladenboro, N.C. A North Carolina elections investigator spent weeks in 2010 probing whether Dowless, the man at the center of a current scandal, was among a group of local political operatives allegedly buying votes. (Travis Long/The News & Observer via AP, File)

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — One of more than a dozen witnesses alleging ballot misconduct in the nation’s last undecided congressional election now faces drug and weapons charges.

Bladen County Sheriff’s officials said Wednesday 48-year-old Christopher Eason was arrested Friday at his Bladenboro home.

Maj. Larry Guyton said it was part of a sweep targeting nearly three dozen suspected drug dealers involving several agencies including the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration and State Bureau of Investigation. State records show Eason has felony convictions for armed robbery and car theft.

Eason signed a sworn affidavit last month saying he handed a blank ballot to McCrae Dowless, a political operative working for Republican U.S. House candidate Mark Harris. State records show Eason’s vote was recorded.

Other voters signed sworn statements saying they handed incomplete or unsealed absentee ballots to Dowless or people he hired.

Harris’ race against Democrat Dan McCready remains unsettled after complaints of serious elections irregularities in Bladen County.