mark harris north carolina

Mark Harris/YouTube

Republican accused of massive ballot fraud poised to win GOP nomination for a North Carolina House seat

His own son testified against him in an investigation.


Marlon Ettinger


Posted on Mar 5, 2024

Republican House candidate Mark Harris is leading in North Carolina’s Eighth Congressional District this evening, with the margin rapidly narrowing in his favor.

If he wins it won’t be the first time he’s got the GOP nod. In 2018 he was the Republican Party’s candidate for the Ninth Congressional District, and by the end of his race that year it looked like he’d edged out his Democratic opponent by almost a thousand votes.

Then the Board of Elections checked the mail-in ballots, where they found hundreds of irregularities, mostly from Bladen County in the South of the state, leading the state’s election board to throw the decision out and run a do-over.

Those allegations quickly resurfaced as Harris took the lead over the course of the evening.

“Mark Harris, of 2018 election fraud fame, has taken the early lead in the Republican primary for NC-8 #ncpol,” posted @ConorLynch04.

“Fraudster Mark Harris (2018 #NC09 nominee), endorsed by Mark Robinson, secures almost 50% in the newly drawn #NC08,” @JoelWeingart_ commented as the early returns came in.

While Harris was never charged for his role in the alleged scheme, a North Carolina Board of Elections investigation presented evidence that Leslie McCrae Dowless Jr., a political operative who worked for Harris’ campaign, had led a ballot-harvesting operation that filled out a minimum of a thousand mail-in ballots, many of them without voters’ knowledge, reported the New Yorker.

“Votes for Democrats were allegedly tossed out,” reported the magazine, “and everything else was cast—or altered—for Harris.”

Lisa Britt, the daughter of Dowless’s ex-wife, testified that she’d collected thirty ballots on her own and altered 5-10 of them by herself. 

“Ballots were sent at staggered times, mailed from the post office nearest a voter’s home, and the ink color of fraudulent witness signatures was carefully matched with those of voters,” the New Yorker summarized.

Things went bad enough for Harris that his own son testified against him, noting that he’d sent an email to his dad pointing out that it’s a Class I felony in North Carolina for anybody but an election official to collect voter ballots.

“I thought what [Dowless] was doing was illegal,” Harris’ son told the election board investigation, while Harris put three fingers over his mouth and wept silent, reported the New Yorker.

And while Harris never got charged in the case, and Dowless died of lung cancer in 2022, it seems like Harris at least learned his lesson about mail-in ballots. 

“I would be remiss if I did not point out that Mark Harris lost the mail ballot vote. #ncpol” posted @andyinrok.

This time, Harris came in second on the mail-ins, 237-168.

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*First Published: Mar 5, 2024, 9:20 pm CST