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Conspiracy Theorists Drive a Virginia County’s Entire Election Staff to Quit

A polling place set up inside a small bare room.

Voter fraud allegations are, unfortunately, something this country’s election systems are more than familiar with. Thanks to Donald Trump whining like a baby after he lost to Joe Biden in the 2020 presidential election, a lot of conservative politicians have decided the best way to deal with loss is to claim without evidence that the outcome of their election was incorrect due to fraud.

Despite having no basis in reality, claims of “rigged” and “stolen” elections have proven to be believable to a distressing number of voters. But this kind of thinking can lead to dangerous outcomes like the violence we saw on January 6th, 2021 or, on a smaller scale, election officials outright quitting because they’re completely fed up.

​​Lindsey Taylor, a former election registrar in Buckingham County, VA, had worked in that position since 2019. In the overly conservative county, she was reportedly seen as a complete professional who ran elections through the pandemic and made sure her work was as pristine as possible. However, Taylor was ousted from her position by the GOP-controlled Electoral Board on baseless claims of voter fraud and incompetence. 

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Buckingham County Republican Committee Chairwoman Ramona Christian, along with two other members that she hand-selected, presented Taylor with a list full of complaints. According to NBC News, some of Christian’s allegations included “not enough Republican poll workers (a majority were unaffiliated with either party, a common practice for poll workers in the county), ballots that arrived at the registrar’s office after she expected them to, and a close school board race with absentee ballots she claimed suggested fraud.” While most of the incidents Christian complained about were misunderstandings or procedural errors, she still forged ahead in her mission to remove Taylor and replace her with a Republican registrar.

The turmoil caused by Christian’s allegations began to sweep through the small, rural, conservative county. Electoral board meetings now needed police officers acting as security guards due to the meetings becoming unruly. Residents of the town were beginning to have public fights on Facebook about the state of their electoral system and letters were being written to the editor of the local newspaper with people voicing their concerns about the GOP having too much power over the electoral board, which is supposed to be non-partisan. It seemed like the board, which was once respected and trusted, was falling apart at the seams.

Everything came to a head during an emergency meeting called by the Buckingham County Electoral Board where they announced that they would not be renewing Taylor’s contract when it expires on June 30th. The board did say she could reapply for the position, but it was incredibly clear that the Republican leadership did not want that to happen. Fed up with the allegations and campaign to oust her, Taylor decided to resign on her own terms and, in doing so, two other staff members left with her. As of this moment, the electoral office does not have a functioning staff, which could spell a lot of trouble for upcoming elections. Larry Davis, a Democrat who served on the electoral board through the end of 2022 before he was forced out of the position, expressed his fears about what this power play will mean for Buckingham County’s electoral future. In his words:

“The next [registrar] will have zero experience. The board won’t have any experience. I would say at least half of the officers of elections are going to quit. “Who’s going to work the election?”

It’s safe to say that Buckingham County will not be the only community to have its electoral system uprooted due to false allegations of voter fraud. The circus we saw on the national stage is truly trickling down to the local level and who knows how much worse it will get before anything gets better.

(via NBC News, featured image: Anna Rose Layden/Getty Images)

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Kayla Harrington (she/her) is a freelance writer who has been working in digital media since 2017, starting at Mashable before moving to BuzzFeed and now here at The Mary Sue. She specializes in Marvel (Wanda Maximoff did nothing wrong!), pop culture, and politics. When she's not writing or lurking on TikTok, you can find Kayla reading the many unread books on her shelves or forcing her friends to watch some random video she found. She's also a world class chef (according to her wife) and loves to try any recipe she can find.