Mayor Stoney joins Virginia, Richmond Democrats in calling for resignation of city’s voter registrar

Updated: Nov. 19, 2020 at 2:18 PM EST
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RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - The Democratic Party of Virginia, Richmond City Democratic Committee and now Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney are calling for the resignation of Richmond’s Voter Registrar.

Thursday, DPVA Chairwoman Susan Swecker and RCDC Chair Jamie Nolan sent a letter to Kirk Showalter and the Richmond Electoral Board calling for change at the registrar’s office.

“It is growing concern in fact it’s gotten worse. This is probably the worst year that we had,” said Swecker.

The two-page letter cites five reasons why Showalter should be removed. Those include issues with complying with FOIA laws and her alleged mishandling of the largest COVID-19 outbreak within Richmond City government to date.

“We were very frustrated and disappointed in how hard it was to get information and how non-transparent registrar Kirk Showalter was in requests for information,” said Swecker.

The letter claims Showalter failed to properly notify individuals who were in the registrar’s office after she learned of the first positive case inside the office. The letter also says no explanation of post-election vote count changes in the city’s council seats 2 and 8 further erodes public trust in a tense election cycle.

“I believe that the electoral board needs to step up and either remove the registrar or ask for her resignation,” said Stoney.

By Thursday afternoon, Stoney joined the calls for Showalter to resign.

“In the 21st century now with the way things are changing because of the pandemic we need to ensure that our process is transparent and that’s why I think the move is necessary,” said Stoney.

NBC12 is also learning the case numbers tied to that outbreak at her office on Laburnum avenue is growing. The city’s health department says 20 cases are now linked. While staff as well as campaign and election officials wore masks the day after the election, the health department says a lack of social distancing is to blame.

“This is an on-going pattern again like I said it’s not a one-off,” said Swecker.

Showalter released the following statement:

“This is the first that I am learning of this. However, 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. I find the timing of this action interesting, being taken at a point where my ability to respond is hindered by the temporary closure and the fact that I am recovering from COVID-19 myself.”

Jim Nachman, chairman of the city’s electoral board, said they will review the information and likely call a board meeting next month before deciding what to do.

The Richmond Voter Registrar’s office remains closed until Friday due to the COVID-19 outbreak.

This is a developing story.

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