BLADEN COUNTY, N.C. - A document called the Absentee Voter Correspondence List reveals a lot of information, including a voter’s age, political party, name and address.
However, Jens Lutz, the former vice chairman of the Bladen County Board of Elections, said he’s extremely concerned about allegations against McCrae Dowless, who is accused of using that data to run an elections fraud operation to benefit the Mark Harris campaign during the District 9 Congressional race.
Lutz said Dowless frequently obtained the report from the Board of Elections that would tell him the date an absentee ballot was sent and whether it had been returned.
“Armed with this document, one could track an absentee ballot and then just show up and present themselves to collect the ballot,” Lutz told Channel 9.
Collecting absentee ballots is illegal. They must be mailed to the Board of Elections by the voter or returned by a close relative.
Lutz believes the key voter information should be confidential, but political science professor Michael Bitzer disagrees, saying that would eliminate transparency and voters' ability to track their ballot requests and their votes.
“Then we are punishing the voters who need the reassurance and the faith in the integrity of the electoral system to ensure that their voice through a vote is being heard,” Bitzer said.
Board of Elections officials told Channel 9 that keeping that absentee data files confidential would require a change to state law.
Some voters told the Board of Elections in sworn affidavits that people showed up to their house unannounced to collect their ballots, and the Absentee Voter Correspondence List could have been how they knew who had absentee ballots.
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