Dallas Woodhouse, the executive director of the North Carolina Republican Party, on Tuesday said that although the state elections board did not throw out any votes from a GOP complaint about absentee ballots in Bladen County, a U.S. attorney appointed by Trump may find wrongdoing in the case.
Woodhouse's comments came one day after the fiercely contested governor's race was finally conceded, nearly a month after Election Day. But not before McCrory and state Republicans claimed widespread voter fraud had taken place, as they sought to close the narrow gap with McCrory's Democratic challenger, Roy Cooper. Local and state elections boards threw out nearly all of the GOP's ballot complaints.
In the Bladen County complaint, Republicans alleged that a group that received funding from state Democrats improperly filled out absentee ballots in Bladen County. The state election board ruled that in that case there was not enough evidence to back up claims of wrongdoing. But the board also referred the case to the U.S. District Attorney for investigation.
Woodhouse claimed in a phone call with TPM that there was "an illegal absentee ballot harvesting mill" in Bladen County and said there was an "attempt to steal" the soil and water district supervisor race.
In the complaint, McCrae Dowless, who won that race, claimed that some signatures and handwriting on absentee ballots in the race were similar. He said that the ballots in question included votes for a write-in candidate in the soil and water district supervisor race, according to the News and Observer.
The complaint in Bladen County was one of several filed by Republicans in the state alleging voter fraud in the 2016 election, and Gov. Pat McCrory used the complaints to decry alleged widespread voter fraud and delay his concession in the governor's race. Republicans claimed that ballots cast by people who were dead, who were felons, or who had already voted, but many of those claims were dismissed by Republican-led county elections boards.
Woodhouse did acknowledge that Cooper, the Democratic state attorney general, was the legitimate winner of the governor's race.
"He was elected by a majority of the people of North Carolina in a fully legitimate election," Woodhouse told TPM. "He earned this victory, and we believe he had more votes."
When asked if the complaints filed by Republicans proved their claims about widespread voter fraud, Woodhouse wouldn't say.
"I think widespread is a definition under the beholder," he told TPM. "I think you cannot say we did not find voter fraud. You cannot also say that the election was determined by voter fraud and stolen. Neither one of those statements is true. The correct statement is we found some things that have to be looked at and investigated for the integrity of the system.”