Election officials in Prince William County this week asked the Commonwealth’s attorney to investigate one of their own. They say Guy Anthony Guiffré, a member of the county electoral board, might have broken state and federal laws in his quest to determine whether someone improperly used technology to impersonate voters in last month’s election. At issue is a state rule that says a voter can apply for an absentee ballot online using an electronic signature instead of the old-fashioned way — with paper and pen. Guiffré, a Republican, says the system opens the door to fraud. To prove it, he recruited four friends — while the county’s registrar was away — to inspect 151 absentee ballot documents and registration records laden with Social Security numbers and other personal information. In doing so, Democrats say, he compromised the meticulous process used to handle ballots, usurped his authority and violated voter privacy.
“It’s my obligation as an individual electoral board member to make sure if I see something that looks extremely suspicious to do something about it,” he said.
State election officials, the two Democrats on the county’s electoral board and the registrar don’t see it that way. In a letter last week, the office of Virginia Elections Commissioner Edgardo Cortés said that Guiffré’s actions “may constitute serious violations of federal and state law.” County officials were summoned to the state elections board’s next meeting on Dec. 16.
In response, Keith A. Scarborough and Jane M. Reynolds, both members of Prince William’s electoral board, and County Registrar Michele L. White referred the matter to the Commonwealth’s attorney and alerted the state attorney general.