The Democratic Party of Virginia is calling for the removal or resignation of the Richmond City General Registrar J. Kirk Showalter.
In a letter to Richmond’s electoral board on Thursday, Democratic Party of Virginia (DPVA) Chair Susan Swecker, and Richmond City Democratic Committee Chair Jamie Nolan criticized Showalter for her handling of the recent election.
“Now that the work of the 2020 election cycle is finished, the task turns to making improvements to our systems to make future elections run even better. Richmond voters deserve to have a well-functioning office that is transparent, accountable, and gets the job done,” the letter says.
“The time has come for Ms. Showalter to either resign or be removed for cause. These repeated failures of the Registrar cannot be ignored and the City of Richmond, indeed, deserves better.”
Swecker and Nolan, who both signed the letter, cited five instances for why Showalter should be dismissed or resign herself.
The Democratic officials alleged in the letter that Showalter failed to comply with a FOIA request for records of voters who had errors or omissions on absentee ballots and offered a false statement, which led to the DPVA filing suit, that the registrar admitted on October 30th to not contacting voters within three days of noticing material omissions on ballot envelopes as mandated by Virginia Law and for vote counting issues in the City Council’s 2nd and 8th District races.
The letter also mentioned other FOIA violations and criticized Showalter’s handling of the COVID-19 outbreak within the registrar office that led to 90 percent of her staff needing to quarantine because of potential exposure.
A similar letter from attorneys representing state Democrats was also sent to the electoral board on Thursday.
In an email to The Virginia Star, Showalter said: “I am confident that whatever the allegations are will be examined, it will be shown that the election was managed well under difficult circumstances, and that we did all in our power to comply with all the last-minute changes and additional requirements.”
Showalter also questioned the timing of the DPVA letter, saying her ability to respond to the claims is currently hindered because of the registrar’s office temporary closure and she is still recovering from COVID.
During a COVID-19 press briefing on Thursday, Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney (D) said he agreed with the calls for Showalter to step down from her position, according to VPM.
The Star reached out to the DPVA and Swecker as well as the Richmond Electoral Board for comment, but did not get a response before press time. Last week, electoral board chair Jim Nachman told the Richmond Times-Dispatch that dismissing Showalter was “not outside the realm of possibilities.”
Rich Anderson, Republican Party of Virginia Chair, said: “I think that the call from the Democratic Party of Virginia for her resignation is premature and without merit. There may have been errors completed in the registrar’s office in Richmond, but I think a lot that directly results from the distractions and workload that have been imposed on these local officials from all of these new [election] requirements.”
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