The Associated Press reports North Carolina Elections officials wanted a federal investigation of possible fraud in absentee voting in Bladen County following the 2016 election.

The letter from the State Board of Elections and Ethics Enforcement was backed up by nearly 300 pages of documents released earlier this week by the Elections Board.

The Board wanted an investigation by the US Attorney’s Office or the District Attorney.

Similar questions about absentee ballot fraud in last November’s voting in Bladen County resulted in the Board’s decision not to certify the Ninth District race that appeared to have been won narrowly by Republican Mark Harris over Democrat Dan McCready.

The Board will not certify the race until a hearing the Board will hold next month that could lead to a whole new election including a primary.

In a taping for NBC Charlotte’s FlashPoint program that will air Sunday morning, both former Republican City Council member Kenny Smith and Democratic State Representative Chaz Beasley agreed that holding a new election was the right thing to do.

“Both parties should be willing to go to the people and say, ‘something fishy went on,’” said Beasley.

McCrea Dowless is a long time Bladen County campaign worker who was at the center of the 2016 investigation into ballot harvesting as well as the election last month.

Bladen County GOP Chairman Walter McDuffie, issued a statement admitting he hired Dowless to work on Last month’s election in Bladen County.

The statement goes on to say, “I authorized a $1300 check to McCrea on election day for him to provide a significant number of poll workers. This had nothing to do with absentee ballots.”

McDuffie said he never would have hired Dowless if he knew what he knows now. Adding if the Elections Board was suspicious of Dowless, it should have said something.

Available at: