The Republican Party of Virginia (RPV) and the Lynchburg Republican City Committee are accusing the Lynchburg Registrar’s Office of violating election laws by counting absentee ballots without Republicans present. Individuals who previously registered as Democrats for years assisted in counting ballots, this time registered as “non-party affiliation.”
65 of the “non-party affiliation” individuals were Democrats last year.
“Local Democrats being designated as ‘non-party affiliated’ enables an unlawful ratio of Democrats to Republicans at Lynchburg voting precincts. It is a transparent system to avoid following Virginia election law,” reads the Lynchburg Republican City Committee press release.
Christine Gibbons is the Lynchburg General Registrar.
In interviews with The Star, Lynchburg Republican City Committee Chairman Eric Harrison and Political Director Amber Haskew (Political Director) explained the rationale for questioning the registrar’s actions.
“We had poll watchers down there, and that’s where we found out there might not be any Republicans there,” said Haskew. “We reached out to the Registrar’s Office, and she misrepresented that there were three Republicans there. She didn’t disclose that none of them were there that day.”
In emails shared with The Star, it appears that Gibbons knew three days prior to the absentee ballot counting that the only Republican listed wasn’t confirmed to work. Harrison admitted that while they need a bigger pool of Republicans for registrars to work with, it doesn’t take away from what happened Monday.
“I’ll concede – we need to have larger amounts of Republicans serving as election officials. However, under this new system, there are ‘no Democrats,’ which means they could have seven ‘non-party affiliates’ who were recently Democrats and one Republican. It’s a pretty transparent attempt to circumvent the spirit of these laws.”
Harrison clarified that they aren’t concerned about tampering with the absentee ballots counted.
“I don’t think these folks were acting nefariously. I don’t think it was some giant scheme to throw ballots that say ‘Trump’ on them away. And, we know nothing untoward was happening because we had a poll watcher there, so it’s not that we need the veracity of the results cleared from Monday.”
RPV Chairman Richard Anderson told The Virginia Star that he confirmed with the Lynchburg Republicans that there were election officials ready to work, but they weren’t brought on that day.
“They counted ballots with no Republican election officer in the room. The chairman told me he has individuals who have been trained and certified as Republican election officials but they were not called.”
Gibbon passed on questioning to a legal representative, David Neumeyer, who didn’t issue a response by press time.
– – –
Corinne Murdock is a reporter at The Virginia Star and the Star News Network. Follow her latest on Twitter, or email tips to email@example.com.
Photo “People Voting” by WyoFile WyoFile. CC BY 2.0.