Man at center of Bladen Co. election fraud investigation dies after battle with cancer

Leslie McCrae Dowless Jr. (Photo: WSOC)

BLADEN COUNTY, NC (WWAY) — The man at the center of the Bladen County election fraud investigation, has died, according to his family.

McCrae Dowless was battling cancer.

In 2019, Dowless was indicted on several charges in connection to the election fraud investigation in Bladen County, including felony obstruction of justice, perjury and possession of absentee ballots.

In 2020, the state board of elections called for a new election in North Carolina’s District 9 congressional race. It is the only time in documented history a federal election was overturned for a fraud investigation.

The family of Leslie McCrae Dowless Jr. and a friend confirmed he died Sunday at his daughter’s Bladen County home. The friend told The Associated Press that Dowless had been diagnosed with an advanced form of lung cancer.

In January of 2021, Dowless pleaded guilty to federal charges involving Social Security benefits.

In November 2021, Dowless denied a plea deal that would have required him to spend a year in prison and five years on probation. He was supposed to go on trial this summer for more than a dozen state criminal counts related to absentee ballot activities.

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Categories: Bladen, Carolinas, Local, NC-Carolinas