The Associated Press reports:
Leslie McCrae Dowless Jr., the key player in a North Carolina absentee ballot fraud probe that led to a do-over congressional election, has died. His daughter, Andrea Dowless Heverly, wrote that her father “passed away peacefully” Sunday morning, according to a social media post.
The political operative was set to go on trial this summer on more than a dozen state criminal counts related to absentee ballot activities for the 2016 general election and the 2018 primary and general elections. A half-dozen others were also charged.
Witnesses told state officials that Dowless, with help of his assistants, gathered hundreds of absentee ballots from Bladen County in 2018. Those workers testified they were directed to collect blank or incomplete ballots, forge signatures on them and even fill in votes for local candidates.
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Dowless had been working for anti-LGBTQ Pastor Mark Harris, who was not charged in the scheme. Harris did not run in the US House election do-over, claiming poor health.
Harris, who had been recruited by the Family Research Council to lead anti-LGBTQ campaigns in North Carolina, later fled through a fire exit to escape reporters, triggering the alarm at a county government building.
— Louie Tran (@louie_tran) April 25, 2022