Virginia Prince William County Election Officer Challenge
Republican Party of Virginia v. Prince William County Election Board
Lawsuit filed by the Republican Party of Virginia and Prince William County Republican Party against the Prince William County Electoral Board and Prince William County general registrar challenging the county’s composition of the “officers of election” (poll workers). In Virginia, the electoral board “shall ensure that one officer is designated as the chief officer of election and one officer is designated as the assistant for each precinct.” The complaint states that, according to Virginia law, the chief officer and assistant chief officer should be of different political parties “whenever practicable.” The plaintiffs argue that in 14 precincts, the defendants have proposed two Democrats to serve as chief and assistant chief officers and allege that in eight precincts, election officers designated as Republicans have voted in Democratic primaries. Additionally, the plaintiffs take issue with 13 precincts where the Republican-nominated officials are “purportedly ‘nonpartisan’ representatives.” The Republican plaintiffs contend that the alleged “failure to appoint election officers who are nominated by and represent [the] Plaintiffs harms Plaintiffs’ rights under Virginia law to make rules and regulations concerning the governance of their party and to perform the functions inherent in their identities as a political party.” The Republican plaintiffs further argue that the defendants’ actions violate Virginia law and the Virginia Constitution and request that the county be prevented from “proceeding with the appointment of the chief and/or assistant chief election officers” where both the chief and assistant chief officers are Democrats.
On Nov. 2, the court granted the plaintiffs’ requested relief, finding that they “are likely to suffer irreparable harm absent relief being accorded them by this Court, that the balance of equities tips in their favor, and that the relief sought is in the public interest.” This means that Prince William County must appoint additional Republicans as chief or assistant chief election officers for the midterm elections. On Feb. 17, 2023, the plaintiffs voluntarily dismissed the lawsuit.