Top Prince William election official says he’s quitting amid dispute with local GOP

Prince William Registrar Eric Olsen announced Friday that he’s quitting his job after the next...
Prince William Registrar Eric Olsen announced Friday that he’s quitting his job after the next election, citing health concerns and the growing stress of operating under intense partisan scrutiny.(Graham Moomaw, Virginia Mercury)
Published: Oct. 10, 2022 at 10:08 AM EDT
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The top election official in one of Virginia’s biggest counties announced Friday that he’s quitting his job later this year due to stress and called out what he described as a “bullshit” ploy by local Republicans to try to undermine his office by installing their own people in jobs overseeing polling places.

Prince William County Registrar Eric Olsen said he would resign after the midterm elections after a local GOP leader made phone calls to election officers suggesting they would be getting different Election Day assignments than the ones Olsen had announced. The elections office also received a letter from a lawyer for the local GOP threatening a lawsuit if Republicans didn’t get more representation in the higher-ranking election chief and assistant chief roles.

Olsen said he had worked diligently to recruit more Republican election officers in Prince William — a Northern Virginia county of more than 465,000 people that will be a key battleground in this year’s congressional races — without much assistance from the local Republican party he felt was turning needlessly hostile.

“I am resigning after this election,” Olsen said to the surprise of many attending Friday’s Prince William Electoral Board meeting. “Because if this is how the general registrars are treated when they are trying to do the right thing, then by God, what happens when something goes wrong?”

Olsen, who got the Prince William job just last year after more than a decade of elections work, added that he had recently received bad medical news about a heart condition, and the stress and pressure of working in an atmosphere of rampant suspicion of election officials were becoming too hazardous to his health.

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NBC12 is a partner with The Virginia Mercury, an independent, nonprofit online news...
NBC12 is a partner with The Virginia Mercury, an independent, nonprofit online news organization covering state government and policy.(Virginia Mercury)