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Dowless, key figure in NC absentee ballot fraud probe, dies

The key player in a North Carolina absentee ballot fraud probe that led to a do-over congressional election has died. 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. He was supposed to go on trial this summer for more than a dozen state criminal counts related to absentee ballot activities. Witnesses told state officials that Dowless directed his assistants to collect blank or incomplete ballots, forge signatures on them and even fill in votes for local candidates.