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NC GOP Exec Director Talks About The 9th Congressional District Hearing

Dallas Woodhouse, center, talks to Mark Harris.

Dallas Woodhouse is the executive director of the North Carolina Republican party. He has attended each day of the state elections board's hearing into allegations of election fraud in the 9th Congressional District. He spoke with WFAE Morning Edition host Lisa Worf about the hearing.

Lisa Worf: N.C. GOP Executive Director Dallas Woodhouse joins us now. Dallas, thanks for coming on.

Dallas Woodhouse: Hey, thank you.

Lisa Worf: So first....

Dallas Woodhouse: I want to point out one thing that is interesting to me in my role that appeared in the clip there.

Lisa Worf: Go ahead.

Dallas Woodhouse: And it was it was a question for Mark Elias to John Harris about absentee ballot collection in fact being fraud.

Dallas Woodhouse: The fact is the state Board of Elections has not treated the improper collection of sealed ballots as fraud.

Lisa Worf: Although it is illegal.

Dallas Woodhouse: Yes, it is illegal, but we have counted those ballots in the past because the voter intent is protected, and we don't punish the voter for the illegal collection. And fraud has always been defined as the destruction, manufacture of altering vote. By the way, something that has not been testified to in any way in one single vote in the 9th Congressional District.

Lisa Worf: So we have, so Dallas, we have also heard testimony this week that someone working for McCrae Dowless completed ballots for some voters although she says not for the congressional race and that there was early tallying of early ballots. So does the fact that that occurred, in addition to the harvesting of ballots, does that taint this election in any way to you?

Dallas Woodhouse: No, no. Well the tabulation of the ballots early does not. First of all that's a board issue. Number two, there is no - I mean the board investigators do not believe those results were leaked out or used in any way. And by the way, they could find that. Right? I mean as a political person I can assure you that if somebody had the results they would have had to do something with them. They would have to order more robo calls. They would have had to send out more door knockers. I mean they would have had to change their already planned activity in between Saturday night and Tuesday, and there's no indication about that. Let me just go right in and let me just want to point out I'm going to point out one thing is that Marc Elias defended Roy Cooper on a Bladen County complaint that we filed in 2016 had an opposite position. It was their position that miss-collected ballots that were sealed should in fact be counted and the quote that they used was that the board has a dual responsibility to make sure that every eligible vote is counted and that the ineligible ones are not. And that is a position that we are attempting to hold on to today. ...

Lisa Worf: If we know that this much occurred I mean as far as possible tampering of ballots, as far as a collection of ballots, why should the elections board and voters have faith that the results are indeed legitimate?

Dallas Woodhouse: Well, I mean we base these things on evidence and there's a couple of things that have come out from the board. There is no... The Board, the state's witnesses will finish with Mark Harris today. There will be no testimony or nothing put in evidence whatsoever to indicate destroyed ballots. Remember that you can eliminate every single mail-in vote that Mark Harris got in Bladen County and Robeson County — although there's been no evidence of anything at Robeson either. So you could eliminate every mail in ballot that Mr. Harris got in Bladen County, and he still wins.

Lisa Worf: So it's going to Mark...

Dallas Woodhouse: An important thing is the law applies to Mr. Harris and Republicans, too.

Lisa Worf: So always looking at Mark Harris's son Ted son's testimony. Now have you have you spoken to Mark Harris about that testimony.

Dallas Woodhouse: I have. I mean yesterday was a personally grueling and very difficult day for Mr. Harris, and I ache for him. I think having his son drug in, you know, about emails in some cases a couple of years old. And here's the thing, in my role as executive director I tell candidates all the time - hire good professionals to help you on your campaign. Keep your family as your support. But if you are a candidate and, by the way, as executive director with a party there is no shortage of people that give you advice on campaign, on tactics. And it all runs together.

Lisa Worf: So after hearing John Harris' testimony, do you think Mark Harris was indeed telling the truth with public pronouncements that he had no reason to believe there was anything illegal about what would what he was doing what Dowless was doing?

Dallas Woodhouse: Absolutely, 100 percent. I will remind you that it goes into everybody's thinking that when complaints were filed including by my office in 2016 about Bladen County activities, the board certified those races and dismissed the complaint. They may have referred things later to prosecutors, and they may have had a secret investigation, but we didn't know that. I just want to remind you one thing McCrae Dowless is a publicly elected official, and they certified his race.

Lisa Worf: So if the board certifies this election do you think Mark Harris would have credibility to serve?

Dallas Woodhouse: Absolutely. Absolutely. And I think Mark will have the credibility to help improve this process. We've had conversations about somethings he could sponsor on the federal level. You know, I'm not going to do this. I think he's going to look into it limiting the number of times somebody can be a witness....

Lisa Worf: Do you think people should be charged with crimes from what you've heard this week so far?

Dallas Woodhouse: I think, potentially, yes. I think we. I mean what you heard in the testimony and in all fairness to Mr. Dowless. We haven't heard from him. But you know it sounds like there was a criminal intent to break the law and that should be prosecuted. Now remember we have to be careful on prosecuting people for simply technical violations of the law in handling ballots. If you did everybody you would be prosecuting all kinds of people who didn't intend to break the law so that they get that criminal intent and it sounds like some might have meant badly. And certainly I can assure you that if witness was tampered with their sure as hell should be a prosecution.

Lisa Worf: Thank you for your time that's NC GOP Executive Director Dallas Woodhouse.

Copyright 2019 WFAE

Lisa Worf traded the Midwest for Charlotte in 2006 to take a job at WFAE. She worked with public TV in Detroit and taught English in Austria before making her way to radio. Lisa graduated from University of Chicago with a bachelor’s degree in English.