Statements from Electoral Board Chairman Braxton, Former Electoral Board Secretary Larry Davis, School Board Member Pullen, Democratic Committee Vice-Chairman Snoddy
Audio File: https://share.icloud.com/photos/0d1AdD69xqMkkIuKeQroqAPxg
BUCKINGHAM COURT HOUSE — In conjunction with Fluvanna County School Board Member Andrew Pullen, Maysville District Supervisor Thomas Jordan Miles III released an audio recording of Buckingham County Republican Committee/Unit Chairman Ramona Christian noting her baseless desire to dismiss Buckingham Voter Registrar Lindsey Taylor.
Pullen recorded the conversation on Jan. 7 during a conversation with Christian, who said as part of her vetting of prospective Republican nominees for the Buckingham Electoral Board, “if I appoint you and if you get sworn in, will you be willing and open to firing the registrar of elections?”
Correction: During a special called/emergency meeting of the Electoral Board, Board Chairman Gail Braxton stated that “a majority” of the board decided not to reappoint Taylor, whose terms ends June 30, 2023. Braxton voted in opposition to not reappointing Taylor.
The recording can be found here: https://share.icloud.com/photos/0d1AdD69xqMkkIuKeQroqAPxg. After opening the webpage, click on the smaller, black rectangle at the bottom left. An audio file will pop up, then click the play button.
“Although the majority of the board who voted not to reappoint the registrar could not give a specific reason for not reappointing her, in my opinion, I believe it was predetermined by their party leader, who has stated on a recording that that’s the reason for not reappointing the registrar,” stated Electoral Board Chairman Gail Braxton.
“The members could not give specific reasons why she should not be reappointed, especially since the new members have only been on the board a short period of time and have not had specific encounters with the registrar to warrant her not being reappointed,” Braxton said.
Christian identified herself during the conversation, Pullen noted. She did not note any election improprieties during the conversation, according to Pullen. She also perpetuated multiple personal attacks on the character of Mrs. Taylor and her family during the recording, Pullen stated.
“This is abhorrent and despicable,” said Maysville District Supervisor Thomas Jordan Miles III. “To base the nomination of appointees to the electoral board, a body that should be apolitical in the process of certifying and managing free and open elections, based on their willingness to ruin the livelihood and career of an unbiased appointed official like Mrs. Taylor, who has an excellent proven track record of supervising fair and open elections, is simply wrong. I hope this recording finally opens the eyes of those who have been sitting on the sidelines—Republicans, Independents, and Democrats.”
Miles, a Democrat, called for the resignation of the Electoral Board Members who agreed to this statement by Christian to fire the registrar.
As of January, there were two vacancies on the Electoral Board, and per State Code, those two positions are to reflect the party of the Governor, who is a Republican. There is one Democrat on the Electoral Board, which again is in line Virginia Code. The local political parties nominate potential members of the Electoral Board, while a Circuit Court Judge appoints the members of the three-person Electoral Board, which is charged to oversee fair and non-partisan elections.
During the conversation, Christian stated the following, which has been substantiated by Pullen, a Republican: “What she’s (Taylor) really upset about is when I interviewed four people for the two positions, for Electoral Board, and, you know, of course I went through their whole stance, Republican stance, what their opinions are on voting and so forth and so on, wanted to get their opinion on mail in balloting, absentee voting, fraud, all that, and when I got through, I asked them: if I appoint you and if you get sworn in, will you be willing and open to firing the registrar of elections?”
“This faction is saying that the reason there were so many ‘incidents’ on Election Day is because the Registrar did not train the officers of election properly and did not follow the law properly,” Miles stated. “However, most if not all of those ‘incidents’ are totally bogus. This small faction is trying to fabricate reasons to remove integrity from our elections process when, in fact, until January, we had smooth, open elections and Electoral Board meetings. Since January, fabricated claims of illegalities have been made, one Republican board member has resigned, the Board’s public comment policy has been changed three times while stifling public comment, and the Registrar and her staff have been harassed.”
On March 8, 2023 Buckingham Democratic Committee Vice-Chairman Maggie Snoddy reached out to Commonwealth’s Attorney Kemper Beasley. The purpose of the call was to ask if Beasley had received copies of any allegations, accusations or incident reports of malfeasance or criminal intent or activity related to the November 2022 election. He confirmed that he had received some information, and that he had reviewed it in detail, and none of the allegations rose to the level of criminal activity, and consequently, required no further action on his part.
“The purpose of the Electoral Board is to ensure we have fair, unbiased, well-organized elections,” said former longtime Secretary of the Electoral Board, Larry Davis. “It should not be a political body. However, it seems that it has become a group dominated by two new members set on pushing their political agenda with the support and influence of a radical Republican Committee. It seems that their first order of business was to eliminate the current Registrar, Lindsey Taylor.”
“Even in the best of times, it is not easy to find enough people to staff all the voting precincts,” Davis said. “We do, however, have a core group of volunteers who have worked the polls for many years. These are honest people of integrity. They are our friends and neighbors. Many of them have been hounded by members of the previously mentioned radical group to the point where they may resign. Imagine conducting an election with an inexperienced Registrar, inexperienced poll workers, and two out of three inexperienced Board members.”
“There has never been a question of the fairness of our elections in Buckingham County,” Davis said. “We have generous, respected community members accused of dishonesty as part of a partisan playbook. While it may be the prerogative of a board taken over by radicals to do these things, is it good for our county? I think the answer is no and I think this would be agreed upon by both Republicans and Democrats in our community. Can they be stopped?”
“After answering a phone call from a number that we didn’t recognize and immediately confronted by a hostile and adversarial Ramona Christian, I began recording,” Pullen, who recorded Christian, stated. “Her unprofessionalism and political threats were repugnant, but her determination to pursue the termination of the Registrar without evidence, without due process and without regard for her community set a dangerous precedent that cannot be ignored. Additionally, her perpetual threats to local candidates who wish to leave divisive D.C. politics out of their local races, has the potential to damage the Republican brand in Buckingham County and fracture the party. I hope that Buckingham County conservatives and Republican leaders across the Commonwealth will join me in demanding her resignation.”
“This is just one additional example, among many, of the extreme partisanship and lack of a moral compass from this newly appointed Electoral Board and the current leadership of the local Republican Party,” stated Snoddy. “There should be a legal remedy here. I urge a full and independent investigation into this and other related matters. The electoral system in Buckingham County will not withstand this type of pressure. It will collapse under the weight of this intimidation and harassment by just a few individuals. We have a huge election in this county in November. This situation needs to be addressed now.”