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Voter Fraud Wackos Chase Out Virginia County's Entire Election Staff
No one gets paid enough to deal with that nonsense.
Ever since the 2020 election, Republicans have had some issues with elections. Shockingly enough, telling people that the entire system is rigged and there was a worldwide conspiracy to keep Donald Trump from being president again did not exactly inspire confidence in the electoral process and has likely depressed turnout for subsequent elections. It's led to true believer candidates like Kari Lake being unable to accept that they lost fair and square. And now, in Buckingham County, Virginia, nonsensical beliefs about voter fraud and rigged elections have actually led to a situation in which elections are far more likely to get screwed up than they were previously.
Right now, residents of Buckingham County can't even register to vote or file to run for political office as all of the people responsible for processing such requests have quit their jobs after being endlessly hounded by Republican voter fraud conspiracy theorists. For months, Buckingham County Republican Committee Chairwoman Ramona Christian went around huffing and puffing about how all of the "voter fraud" she imagined was going on.
She caused a ruckus at one election board meeting, getting into an argument with the mother of deputy registrar Rebecca Ragland Kelly and subsequently filing a weeklong restraining order against her, claiming that she had been "assaulted." Ragland Kelly's mother, a longtime school board member, said she had merely "plucked" Christian's shirt.
Not long after that, Rebecca Ragland Kelly quit her job.
Christian also had it in for registrar Lindsey Taylor, even going so far as to go around asking electoral board candidates if they'd be willing to get rid of her.
Via NBC News:
Buckingham County Republican Committee Chairwoman Ramona Christian, who had hand-selected two new members — Sandy Banks-Bertwell and Andy Marchetti — on the three-person board, presented a long list of complaints about the previous year’s elections.
Her allegations included not enough Republican poll workers (a majority were unaffiliated with either party, a common practice for poll workers in the county), ballots that arrived at the registrar’s office after she expected them to, and a close school board race with absentee ballots she claimed suggested fraud. (Democrat Michelle Ford won that race by nine votes.) In her remarks, she name-checked Taylor multiple times, as well as other residents who had served as poll workers, and asked for an "audit" of some ballots.
“Why do we have all these infractions? Why don’t you know the law?” said another local Republican, Theresa McManus, according to a video of part of the meeting obtained by NBC News.
“I am putting you on notice — for treason!” she added.
But the incidents Christian had reported were not crimes, let alone treasonous offenses; some appeared to be procedural snafus, while others were misunderstandings on behalf of the observers.
Christian also spread a rumor about Taylor that her mother-in-law hated her because of her non-existent radical left-wing beliefs.
The Buckingham County Board of Supervisors, made up of Republicans, Independents and Democrats, stepped up at one point to write a letter supporting Taylor and decrying the ridiculous rumors that were going around, which Christian claimed was "overstepping."
As a result of all the nonsense from Christian and others, Taylor — who is not even a Democrat and considers herself nonpartisan — and the two part timers working in her office quit. Now there is basically no one with any experience available to actually run elections, which actually makes it all the more likely that something will go wrong. Not because of fraud, but because of sheer incompetence.
It seems highly unlikely that those who initially pushed the Trump election fraud nonsense thought that people were actually going to believe it and assume that such fraud was going on everywhere in the United States — at least not to the point where this belief would actually end up having more far-reaching effects. They probably thought there was some kind of understanding that it was a disingenuous ploy to "energize the base" and keep up their belief in the infallibility of Donald Trump.
But this is how it works — people can never believe just one wacky thing. They can't just believe that there was a worldwide conspiracy to rig the United States election in order to prevent Donald Trump from being president and then that was it. In order to make it make sense, it has to be part of a larger conspiracy with even more absurd aspects, it has to be everywhere, even in Buckingham County, Virginia, in order to render the idea of a stolen 2020 election less ridiculous and less of an anomaly.
Like, one UFO landing somewhere one time, ever, makes less sense than lots of UFOs landing lots of places. One Satanic daycare makes less sense than an underground network of Satanic daycares. It's basic world-building. You have to create a world in which the ridiculous thing you want to believe happened is the norm.
This is now what people like Ramona Christian believe is the norm, and it will very likely blow right up in their faces.
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