VSP investigation underway

Published 8:00 am Thursday, March 31, 2022

Just over a month following a request by the board of supervisors, the Virginia State Police (VSP) has obtained the information necessary to conduct an audit of the voter registrar’s office.

After over a year of questions and concerns about the duties performed by former county Registrar Eric Goode and his office, followed by a lawsuit, the Board of Supervisors sought an investigation of the office on Feb. 14.

The day following Feb. 15, Jenni Booth was named the county’s new Registrar.

In December, the electoral board relocated the Registrar’s office temporarily, citing concerns as well.

On Tuesday, Mar. 29, County Administrator Dan Witt confirmed that the Registrar’s office has reopened at its original location of 420 Thomas Jefferson Highway, Charlotte Court House.

“I was told by the VSP investigator that they had completed the download of information needed from the hard drives of the computers.,” Witt said. “I asked about reopening the office and was told to check with the Commonwealth Attorney overseeing the investigation.”

Witt said that Mecklenburg County Commonwealth Attorney R. Allen Nash, who is handling the case, informed him the office could be reopened.

As for the investigation, Witt said he did not know the status and/or results of the investigation/audit being conducted by the VSP and Commonwealth Attorney’s office.

Issues involving the former Registrar and his office came to light following a protective order Goode took out on electoral board member Dean Foster in November.

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

Since his resignation, there have been allegations of office mismanagement and missing absentee ballots from the November election.

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.

On Feb. 9, a judge dismissed the case.