Dec 6, 2018

There's a major election fraud case unfolding in North Carolina

A woman inserts her ballot into the machine. Photo: MARK RALSTON/AFP/Getty Images

The first major election fraud case in a long time is unfolding in North Carolina, but it's far different than the threat hyped up by Republicans, and it threatens to force a new election.

The latest: Republican Mark Harris holds an unofficial 905-vote lead over his Democratic opponent Dan McCready in North Carolina's 9th congressional district. North Carolina's state elections board won't certify the results, citing "claims of numerous irregularities and concerted fraudulent activities related to absentee by-mail ballots."

Between the lines: This is different than Republican warnings about voter fraud, which baselessly claim voters are being illegally brought to the polls to vote multiple times or in places they don't reside.

Driving the news:

  • Democrats in the House are threatening not to seat Harris: Nancy Pelosi said they "could take the 'extraordinary step' of calling for a new election if the winner isn’t clear," the AP reported today.
  • North Carolina Republicans are open to a new election if fraud is proven to have affected the results, its executive director said today.


  • Leslie McCrae Dowless, who worked for Harris' campaign as a contractor, is reportedly at the center of the probe.
  • He has been accused of collecting and filling out hundreds of voters’ absentee ballots — which is illegal in the state. North Carolina mandates all absentee ballot envelopes must be signed by two witnesses and dropped off by voters or their close relatives.
  • Dowless has denied any wrongdoing, though the AP reports that Bladen County's elections board has recorded that he submitted over 500 ballots.

The bottom line: President Trump — who spent years baselessly claiming Democrats were behind massive voter fraud and created a voter fraud task force at the White House — has yet to comment on North Carolina.

Go deeper: North Carolina House race in doubt over claims of electoral fraud

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Coronavirus dashboard

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  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 3 a.m. ET: 786,291 — Total deaths: 37,820 — Total recoveries: 166,088.
  2. U.S.: Leads the world in confirmed cases. Total confirmed cases as of 3 a.m. ET: 164,620 — Total deaths: 3,170— Total recoveries: 5,943.
  3. Federal government latest: The White House will extend its social distancing guidelines until April 30.
  4. State updates: Rural-state governors say testing is still inadequate, contradicting Trump — Virginia, Maryland and D.C. issue stay-at-home orders to residents, joining 28 other states.
  5. Business latest: Ford and General Electric aim to make 50,000 ventilators in 100 days.
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World coronavirus updates: World Bank warns economic pain unavoidable

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins, the CDC, and China's Health Ministry. Note: China numbers are for the mainland only and U.S. numbers include repatriated citizens and confirmed plus presumptive cases from the CDC

The novel coronavirus has caused a "global shock" and significant economic pain "seems unavoidable in all countries," the World Bank said in an economic update for
East Asia and the Pacific on Monday.

The big picture: COVID-19 cases surged past 786,000 and the death toll exceeded 37,800 early Tuesday, per Johns Hopkins data. Italy reported more than 11,500 deaths.

Go deeperArrowUpdated 2 hours ago - Health

U.S. coronavirus updates: Death toll tops 3,000

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins; Map: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

The U.S. death toll from the novel coronavirus surpassed 3,000 late Monday.

The state of play: There were more than 164,000 confirmed cases in the U.S. early Tuesday — more than any other country in the world, per Johns Hopkins data. The COVID-19 death toll stood at 3,170. The number of recoveries had risen to more than 5,900.

Go deeperArrowUpdated 6 hours ago - Health