Police to investigate alleged misdoings of registrar

Published 12:00 pm Friday, February 25, 2022

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After over a year of questions and concerns about the duties performed by the county’s former Registrar Eric Goode and his office, followed by a lawsuit, the Charlotte County Board of Supervisors (BOS) is seeking an investigation of the Registrar’s office.

The decision came during the board’s Monday, Feb. 14 meeting on a motion by Butch Hamlett directing the county administrator to contact the Virginia State Police (VSP).

The motion passed 6 to 1 with board Chairman Gary Walker abstaining.

According to County Administrator Dan Witt, the VSP was contacted on Thursday, Feb. 17.

“I provided all the information I had related to the civil lawsuit that was dismissed on Feb. 9,” Witt said.

Witt said he was not given a timeframe for the process to be completed.

During the board meeting, former Phenix/Aspen supervisor Donna Fore addressed the board to express her concerns about the county’s electoral process and that issues warranted an investigation.

“The registrar failed to file his formal reports at the end of the election period,” Fore said. “Although the vote was certified by the county despite the fact that the registrar never filed his formal results.”

According to Fore, there are also questions concerning missing absentee ballots.

“There are 120 missing ballots from the election,” Fore said. 360 absentee ballots were mailed out by the Registrar, but only 240 were returned … There was no accountability.”

In addition, Fore said that on the November 2021 election day, the Aspen/Phenix precinct had malfunctions.

“The voters were given ballpoint pens to use, which were then submerged in alcohol to clean them; this caused the machines to malfunction because the pens would leave globs of Ink on the ballots,” Fore said. “I don’t know who gave them the authority to make that kind of change or conduct the polling that way, but it resulted in altered or damaged ballots that had to be done several times.”

According to Fore, there was also a lack of training for poll workers, questions as to if voting machines had been tested, and changes to Virginia voting laws that were never conveyed to citizens.

The concerns over the Registrar’s office and practices had become such an issue over the past year that five citizens from the Randolph and Saxe area filed a lawsuit naming the County’s Voter Registrar, Board of Supervisors and the Virginia Department of Elections as defendants in December.

Attorney John Jansen filed the claim in Charlotte County Circuit Court on behalf of the citizens who called themselves “The Five.”

The five citizens named in the complaint seeking a special grand jury are listed on court documents as George Toombs, Borys Dzyndra, Jeremiah DeMuth, Jane Winterson and Hugh Adams.

According to the 16-page court document, the number one complaint made is that “there are known irregularities in the election that have led to Electoral Board Member Glenwood Dean Foster withdrawing his certification of the 2021 election due to missing ballots and discrepancies in the absentee ballot counts and the accounting of those ballots.”

According to the suit, allegedly, when Voter Registrar Eric Goode was initially confronted with these absentee ballot problems, he gave the Chair of the Democrat Party what appeared to be false reports.

In addition, the suit claims that Goode made several trips to see the Chairman of the Board of Supervisors after being questioned about missing ballots.

According to documents on Nov. 12, a judge ordered Goode to produce the absentee ballot information.

Goode resigned his position just one week prior on Friday, Dec. 3, following a show-cause case between him and Foster.

That case stemmed from a protective order Goode took out on Foster in November.

Goode, who has served as Registrar since the fall of 2020 following the retirement of Nan Lambert, took out a protective order against Foster on Nov. 8 after he said Foster followed him when he left his office on several occasions.

Following a show-cause court case between him and Foster, Goode resigned.

In his letter of resignation, Goode wrote that he was being forced out of a job and denied any wrongdoing while serving as voter registrar.

In addition, Goode asked that no legal action be brought against him.

“No legal action will be brought on against me as I have indicated as I am being forced to re-sign against my wishes. I do not admit to any wrongdoing by signing this statement. I sign this statement as I wish to go on with my life and my ability to live.” Goode wrote.

During a Tuesday, Feb. 15 meeting of the electoral board Chairman Glenn Baker said that a certified letter had been sent to Goode recently requesting any and all items belonging to the Registrar’s office be returned.

Baker said the letter was returned to the electoral board marked return to sender.

On Feb. 9, a judge dismissed the case of “The Five” v Voter Registrar, Board of Supervisors, and the Virginia Department of Elections.