Virginia’s busiest elections office, which will compile vote tallies for hundreds of thousands of Fairfax County ballots Nov. 4, has struggled for years with infighting and high staff turnover, according to interviews, e-mails and documents obtained by The Washington Post. The discord is casting a pall over the office tasked with protecting the integrity of elections in Virginia’s most populous jurisdiction, prompting calls for improvement from top county officials. Some critics say the turmoil adds to the challenge of training precinct workers to use new, more customer-friendly voting machines and implement a statewide voter ID law on Election Day.
Sharon Bulova (D), chairman of the county’s Board of Supervisors, said she and County Executive Edward L. Long Jr. “have done everything that we can do within our authority to try to effect changes and address morale issues within the office.”
But the county does not oversee the Elections Office, even though it funds most of the agency’s nearly $4 million annual budget. The office is overseen by a three-member Electoral Board appointed by the county’s circuit court judges.
Board Secretary Brian Schoeneman, a Republican, said the board has ordered a host of changes to address problems identified in a report commissioned by the county last year and to try to ease tension between office employees and General Registrar Cameron Quinn.