Elections

Columbus County elections board certifies disputed sheriff’s race

At its meeting Thursday morning, the Columbus County Board of Elections certified the results of the sheriff’s race and issued Jody Greene his certificate of election.

  State elections board issues order in Columbus County Sheriff dispute, parties plan appeals

  General Assembly approves voter ID accommodations, including use of student IDs

  Priest wins Bladen Co. District 3 recount

  Recount scheduled in Bladen County Commission race

  NC9 Election Results: Bishop takes GOP primary; Bladen Commissioners’ race decided by four votes

Republican candidates face off in primary NC District 09 election

Continued Coverage

Bladen County, 9th district vote in election re-do

Candidates face off in GOP primary for 9th Congressional District

NC elections board appoints Karen Brinson Bell as new director

  State elections board sides with Jody Greene; protesters plan appeal; investigators detail absentee ballot activity

  State board holds hearing for disputed Columbus County sheriff race

  Election deception: WECT Investigates spillover of absentee ballot irregularities in Columbus County

  With voter confidence on the line, all eyes on Bladen County as voting gets underway

Just shy of five months after the North Carolina State Board of Elections refused to certify three races — Bladen County Commission District 3, Soil and Water Conservation District Supervisor and North Carolina’s 9th congressional seat — voters are again taking to the polls.

  Utility documents list acting sheriff’s purported residence as commercial account with cow barn

Documents subpoenaed from Duke Energy shed new light on concerns that acting Columbus County Sheriff Jody Greene may not have lived in the county prior to his election as required by state law. The documents also indicate there has been an address change on the account.

  Early voting for Republican primary begins Wednesday in NC’s 9th district

One-stop, in-person early voting in the Republican primary election for North Carolina’s 9th congressional district begins Wednesday, April 24.

  Another deputy seeking back pay from Columbus Co., says acting sheriff didn’t have authority to fire him

“It is Mr. Campbell’s position that, due to the N.C. State Board of Elections position that Mr. Green’s [sic] election was never certified, Mr. Green was without legal or actual authority to either demote or terminate Mr. Campbell.”

  Voting along party lines, Columbus County elections board decides Jody Greene was not domiciled in county

  Columbus County elections board hears protest of 2018 sheriff’s race, testimony to continue Thursday

  Absentee voting opens in North Carolina’s 9th district

  Acting sheriff fired deputies despite uncertain election results

  Columbus County BOE sets hearing in disputed sheriff’s race

  State board sends sheriff’s election protest back to Columbus County, requires officials to take up residency issue

  NCSBE wants ‘fresh start’ in Bladen County, declines to appoint former county elections board members

In order to accomplish that, the NCSBE declined to appoint a full slate of members to the Bladen County Board of Elections because several nominees have served in the role.

NCSBE hearing on Columbus Co. sheriff’s race rescheduled as board considers sending matter back to county

The North Carolina State Board of Elections will meet by phone Thursday to consider remanding part of the issues detailed in a protest appeal back to the Columbus County.

  Protecting your voice: Restoring voter confidence in the wake of election fraud

After election fraud put the national spotlight on Southeastern North Carolina, WECT Investigates took a look at how other Cape Fear area counties fared in 2018.

  NC9 Special Election: Final list of candidates determined

The stage is set for the new election in North Carolina’s 9th congressional district.

  Search warrants indicate SBI tailed Dowless during 2018 election

Months before his absentee activities would make national headlines, Leslie McCrae Dowless was being followed by the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation.

  McCrae Dowless received absentee ballot data from Columbus County

Newly-surfaced documents show how Leslie McCrae Dowless, the man indicted for election fraud in Bladen County, was also active in neighboring Columbus County.

  Wilmington’s municipal elections to cost 20 percent more this year

Wilmington won’t be alone — Wrightsville Beach and Kure Beach will also see increases thanks to changes the county is making.

  New 9th district election, Bladen County re-dos scheduled

It will be September, if not November, before we know who will serve in North Carolina’s 9th congressional district.

  Town commissioner at odds with Bladen sheriff, connected to 9th district figure, voluntarily closes electronic gaming business to avoid raid

The criminal and civil matters have stretched on for years, and the disagreement between a Dublin town commissioner and the Bladen County Sheriff came up during the state's election fraud investigation. But now, at least one chapter is closed.

  NCSBE hearing into Columbus County sheriff’s race postponed; attorneys allowed to gather more evidence

The new date for the hearing is March 18.

  State elections board to schedule new NC9 election, discuss Columbus County Sheriff protest

The roughly 788,000 people of North Carolina’s 9th congressional district will soon have a date to mark on their calendars for the special election for the seat.

Sen. Britt will not seek GOP nomination in new 9th Congressional District election

Sen. Danny Earl Britt (R-Columbus, Robeson) says he will not seek the GOP nomination in the upcoming Ninth Congressional District election ordered by the NC Board of Elections.

NC9 fallout: Candidates look ahead to running in local races, again

The races for Bladen County Commission District 3, Bladen County Soil and Water Conservation District Supervisor and U.S. House of Representatives District 9 will now be re-run. The NCSBE is expected to vote on a schedule in the coming weeks.

N Carolina colleges won’t confirm student IDs OK for voting

North Carolina colleges and universities won't guarantee under criminal penalty that student identifications meet the state's requirements for voting, raising doubts about whether thousands of young adults could be blocked from the ballot box

State will monitor new elections in Bladen County

The hearing into election fraud in parts of North Carolina’s 9th congressional district might be over — but the work in Bladen County is just beginning.

State records contradict sheriff’s candidate’s address history

Documents unearthed through a subpoena appear to show contradictory information about when Columbus County Sheriff candidate Jody Greene lived in that county. Greene's residency is the subject of an ongoing challenge to his legal eligibility to serve as sheriff.

  Democrat announces another run after new House election called in NC

The Democratic candidate in the nation’s last undecided congressional race will run for the 9th district seat again now that a new election has been called.

Judge strikes down NC voter ID law OK’d by voters

The judge sided Friday with the state NAACP, which argued last year’s edition of the General Assembly that voted to put amendments to the North Carolina Constitution on the ballot was illegally constituted due to racially gerrymandered districts.

  NC9 hearing day 4: State board unanimously votes to hold new election

The state board voted 5-0 to hold a new election for the 9th Congressional district seat, Bladen County Commission District 3, and Bladen County’s Soil and Water Conservation District supervisor. The board did not set a schedule for when the election would happen.

  Day 3 of NC9 hearing: Son of Mark Harris says he found McCrae Dowless suspicious; Red Dome leader continues testimony

The North Carolina State Board of Elections’ hearing drags on with no end in sight as new information emerges about exactly who was suspicious of the absentee ballot activity in Bladen County, and when they became aware.

  NC9 hearing day 2: Witness indicates early vote totals leaked, Red Dome leader testifies

Day two of the North Carolina State Elections Board hearing into possible election fraud in District 9.

  NC9 hearing: McCrae Dowless, man at the center of the investigation into election fraud, refuses to testify as state presents evidence

An evidentiary hearing is underway at the North Carolina State Bar as the state board of elections weeds through the results of its election fraud investigation.

  With hearing set to begin, a look back at the election fraud investigation

The North Carolina State Board of Elections will take up the query into alleged fraud in the state’s 9th district and beyond on Monday, Feb. 18, but the road to the Raleigh hearing has been long and winding.

  Final documents set stage for election fraud hearing

On Tuesday, Feb. 12, parties on both sides of the aisle submitted their final argument briefs for consideration, as well as a list of witnesses attorneys intend to call.

  State concerned over Columbus County board’s dismissal of election protest on technicality

Email from State Board of Elections attorney Joshua Lawson to Columbus County attorney Amanda Prince raises questions about the Columbus County Board of Elections' handling of a protest filed in the sheriff’s race.

  Harris team asks for subpoenas for Dowless, other key players in 9th district investigation

The legal team for Republican Mark Harris wants several key players in the investigation into alleged election fraud in Bladen County and beyond to appear in person at the hearing scheduled for Feb. 18.

  While working, claiming residence in Columbus County, acting sheriff routinely gassed patrol car in Lumberton

Jody Greene was stationed in Columbus County and claimed to live there on property in Cerro Gordo. Oddly, he routinely filled up in neighboring Robeson County, well across the county line and nearly 30 minutes from his alleged residence.

  Citing election fraud hearing, lack of information, NCSBE will not appoint new members to election boards in Bladen, Columbus counties

Two counties in Southeastern North Carolina will remain without a county board of elections for the immediate future.

NCSBE sets hearing for election fraud investigation

More than two months after originally putting the certification of North Carolina’s 9th congressional district race on hold, there is finally a date-certain for learning an outcome.

  Cooper names new state board of elections

A month after a court ruling dissolved the nine-member North Carolina State Board of Elections, the new version of the board finally has its members.

  Greene pays $25K bond to keep sheriff’s seat, for now

Acting Columbus County Sheriff Jody Greene has posted a $25,000 bond to keep his seat as sheriff, for now. Wake County Superior Court Judge Graham Shirley ordered Greene to pay that bond as part of an ongoing legal dispute over who is the rightful sheriff of Columbus County.

  Grange named co-chair of state House elections committee

A New Hanover County state representative was given a key leadership role in the North Carolina General Assembly.

  Greene has yet to post required $25K bond in dispute over rightful sheriff

Attorneys for Lewis Hatcher have filed documents requesting detailed financial information, property records, and personnel records for Jody Greene in their attempt to prove Hatcher should still be serving as Columbus County sheriff.

  Judge denies request to certify NC-9 race

Wake County Superior Court Judge Paul Ridgeway will consider a petition from Republican Mark Harris for a Writ of Mandamus, a request asking the court to force the North Carolina State Board of Elections and Ethics Enforcement to certify him as the winner of the contest.

Woman’s ballot thought to be missing was actually counted; state cites clerical error

Patrick Gannon, spokesperson for the state agency, said it was a clerical error that led to the belief Herring’s vote was not counted.

McCready campaign, NCSBE call for Harris petition to be dismissed

Wake County Superior Court has not set a date to hear a petition from Republican Mark Harris — but the stage is set for one.

  Hearing scheduled in dispute over rightful sheriff of Columbus County

A judge from another jurisdiction is heading to Columbus County this week to hear arguments that Lewis Hatcher should be reinstated as Sheriff.

  Advocacy groups hold rally over election fraud investigation delay

Voters and leaders of advocacy groups from across North Carolina gathered in Raleigh on Friday to express their frustration with the delays in the election fraud investigation.

  Experts say uncertainty in 9th district could last months

Experts in North Carolina’s political landscape and election law say no matter which path the investigation goes down, the process will likely take months.

  Harris files request for court order demanding he be certified in 9th district

On Nov. 30, the North Carolina State Board of Elections voted 7-2 to not certify Harris, who unofficially leads the race for the seat against Democrat Dan McCready by 905 votes, as the winner of the contest.

  Harris plans to file legal action seeking certification in NC-9 election

The campaign of Republican Mark Harris said he plans to file a legal challenge on Thursday that will ask a court to order he immediately be certified as the winner of the 9th Congressional District election.

  Election fraud hearing postponed; Cooper will not appoint new board, calls lack of GOP support ‘obstruction’

There will be no new state board of elections — at least for the time being.

Rep. Pittenger reflects on congressional tenure in announcement not to run in possible new primary

In a formal statement a day after a brief announcement, Pittenger said he will not run in any new primary that may result from the election fraud investigation underway in the district.

  McCready campaign moves forward with fraud hearing suggestions despite uncertainty

The campaign wants no fewer than 48 people to be compelled to attend the hearing.

  Tumultuous day leaves more questions than answers in election fraud investigation

With less than 90 minutes to go before the North Carolina State Board of Elections is set to dissolve, both Governor Roy Cooper and Republican Mark Harris released their solutions to the problem.

Future of NCSBE, election fraud investigation in flux as court denies extension, General Assembly overrides veto

Just hours after a vote to override the governor's latest veto, a court ruling further complicated the state's elections board.

  Cooper calls GOP plan to override veto of elections bill ‘astonishing,’ asks citizens to press legislators

With just five days to go before the new North Carolina General Assembly is sworn in, republican legislators are preparing to override Gov. Roy Cooper’s veto of House Bill 1029.

McCready campaign submits affidavits in election fraud investigation

As state investigators continue digging into the irregularities with absentee by mail ballots in Bladen, Robeson and Columbus County, the involved parties are turning over affidavits and other documents.

  Despite word from NCSBE, Columbus County officials say they can’t address sheriff discrepancy

On Election Day, Greene led Hatcher by 34 votes, and after a recount, by 37 votes. However, multiple protests were filed with the county elections office in regard to Greene’s campaign.

  Hatcher says he’s willing to serve Columbus Co. as sheriff if asked to resume duties

Jody Greene was sworn in on Dec. 3, but questions remain if the sheriff should be serving during the protest period.

Hidden in plain sight: A decade of local politics culminates in national election fraud investigation

In a small office space located just a few blocks off US Highway 701, two women held down operations as the phones rang nearly non-stop for a week.

  What to do if you think you are a victim of election fraud

If you think you’re a victim of election fraud, attorneys want you to know what to do.

  Person working for Dowless says in text message: ‘I’m scared...I’ve never been investigated for anything’

The North Carolina State Board of Elections released a lengthy report Wednesday on findings that could influence the investigation into election fraud in Bladen County.

Lawyer for central figure in NC-09 investigation releases statement, denies client broke law

The lawyer for a man who has come to be a central figure in the ongoing scrutiny over potential voting irregularities in North Carolina’s 9th Congressional District has issued a statement on her client’s behalf.

  At least 21 candidates used Dowless, Red Dome over last decade

These candidates, whose constituencies cover Bladen County, Columbus County, Pender County, Brunswick County and New Hanover County, all listed Dowless, Red Dome, Politico Management Services or Patriots for Progress on their official campaign finance reports.

Bladen County state senator refuses to answer questions about election fraud investigation

WECT wanted to ask Bill Rabon about the election fraud investigation happening in part of the district he represents.

  Evidence indicates Sheriff Jody Greene may not live in Columbus County

Tax records indicate there is no home at the address where newly elected Columbus County Sheriff Jody Greene is claiming as his primary address.

  NC election fraud: Concerning number of absentee ballots not returned in Columbus Co.

As evidence mounts of election fraud in Bladen County, WECT has learned this may not be an isolated problem. WECT has just uncovered that things in Columbus County may be even worse.