BLADENBORO – The 9th District congressional election became big news around the nation when the State Board refused to certify the results, and people came out of the woodwork alleging tampering with absentee ballots on behalf of the Republican candidate’s campaign. Make no mistake, the ONLY reason this story became as big as it is now is because it called into question a narrow Republican victory in an important congressional race.
However, as more and more information comes out, important questions are being raised. Some center around the ability of the State Board of Elections chairman’s ability to objectively oversee the investigation, others about how multiple Democratic operations were employing the same tactics, but are not being investigated.
Local and national journalists have been chasing down this story with gusto, and understandably so. None, though, have been better at uncovering significant information related to the 9th District saga than Nick Ocshner of WBTV.
Ocshner recently sat down with a woman at the center of the storm, Lisa Britt, and her statements should raise the antennae of everyone paying attention to this continually unfolding story.
“Two affidavits filed in late November by the North Carolina Democratic Party feature Bladen County voters who say Britt took actions to interfere with their ability to cast an absentee ballot.
In an interview Tuesday evening with WBTV, Britt denied any wrongdoing.
“We did go register people to vote to receive their absentee ballot in the mail but as far as going and picking up ballots, no, sir, that didn’t take place,” she said.
Britt said she thinks some of the allegations that have been made against her and Dowless may stem from people interchanging absentee ballots with absentee ballot request forms.
Britt acknowledged in her interview going around and asking people to fill out and sign absentee ballot request forms.
Records released by the NCSBE show both Dowless and Britt submitted hundreds of request forms to the Bladen County Board of Elections.”
These affidavits were the spark that initiated the onslaught of media attention and official state investigations. Again, mostly because the allegations were harmful to the Republican candidate.
But if Dowless and Britt were merely dealing in absentee ballot request forms, and the people alleging wrongdoing were confused about the difference between that and the ballots themselves, this whole case could be built on quicksand.
IF this is true, how and why would the accused and associated parties take so long to present this possibly absolving information?
Much has been made about the prevalence of certain signatures on hundreds of absentee ballot request forms. To our knowledge, there has been no similarly direct links to actually tampering with the absentee ballots, beyond these now questionable affidavits.
We’re not sure what this means in the end, being that the ball is rolling down the election fraud hill with such momentum. We are pretty confident, however, that the legal distinctions between ballot request forms and actual ballots should make a huge difference in the outcome of this investigation.
At this point, all statements should be taken with a grain of salt (or two) considering the political elections culture in these counties over the years. However, the State Board should be making absolutely certain that the appearance of fraudulent election activity is not mistaken for evidence of fraudulent election activity. Gee, it sure would be nice if the Board was led by someone that engendered that kind of confidence.
Read more from WBTV’s valuable reporting here.