The Washington Post

County election official indicted in corruption case

- BY JUSTIN JOUVENAL AND ANTONIO OLIVO

The former Prince William County registrar of voters has been indicted on corruption charges, Virginia’s attorney general announced Wednesday.

Michele White, who resigned last year, is facing felony counts of corrupt conduct as an election official and making a false statement by an election official, as well as a misdemeano­r charge of willful neglect of duty by an elected official. The crimes are alleged to have occurred between August and December 2020, while White was still in office.

White declined to comment on the allegation­s.

The office of Attorney General Jason Miyares (R) declined to detail the specific allegation­s against White, but Eric Olsen, the registrar who succeeded White, said in an interview that he triggered the probe in April.

“I was going through some documents in the office and I saw some matters that needed to be reported to the state,” Olsen said.

Olsen declined to discuss what those “discrepanc­ies” were, citing the ongoing criminal case, but he said they potentiall­y affected a small number of votes in the 2020 election. He said the issues were not serious enough to change the outcome of any contests.

“The Electoral Board and new Director of Elections have built an entirely new leadership team that is dedicated to fair and accurate elections,” Olsen said in a statement. “Many improvemen­ts and best practices have been adopted to ensure a safe and transparen­t voting experience for the voters of Prince William County.”

The registrar oversees voter registrati­on and helps administer elections in Virginia counties. The registrar is appointed by a county electoral board.

White stepped down in early 2021 after holding the position of registrar since 2015, Olsen said.

The Prince William County Times reported in April 2021 that White resigned after an emergency meeting of the Prince William County Electoral Board to discuss her tenure. The discussion occurred during a closed session, and board members declined to comment on the reasons for White’s resignatio­n at the time.

A spokesman for the electoral board did not respond to a request for comment.

Olsen said in an interview that the office saw high turnover during the latter part of White’s tenure but that it was not related to any alleged criminal conduct.

“There was typical office stuff that was going on, and that was exacerbate­d by working during the pandemic,” Olsen said.

A grand jury in Manassas indicted White on Monday. No court dates have been set in her case.

Former voter registrar for Prince William faces felony charges

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