by Adele Uphaus
MANAGING EDITOR AND CORRESPONDENT
Steve Maxwell, who ran against incumbent Roger Harris for Spotsylvania Sheriff, has asked that the results of last week’s election not be certified until a manual recount has been completed.
Maxwellj, who was endorsed by the county Republican committee, sent a letter to Kellie Acors, the general registrar and director of elections for Spotsylvania County, on Sunday requesting that “NO Certification of this Primary Election be done until there be completed a full hand count” of paper ballots.
Unofficial results from the Nov. 7, 2023, general election from the Virginia Department of Elections show that Maxwell received 14,118 votes, or 32.6% of the vote. Harris received 29,053 votes – 67.08%.
Harris received more than 60% of the vote in all but three precincts – Fire Rescue 7, where he received 58.9% of the vote; Ni River Middle, where he received 58.6%; and Brock Road Elementary, where he received 57.9%.
Harris also received 58% of the provisional votes.
Maxwell’s letter “challenge(s) the authenticity of the Mail in Ballots, and request(s) an Expert evaluation of those Mailed in and Hand-carried in Ballots.”
It claims that “Expert analysts reviewed the results of the Precincts of Spotsylvania County in the 2023 General Election and evaluated the voting results as highly unlikely to be real and honest.”
The Advance asked Maxwell for more information about the “expert analysts” and their findings and did not receive a response.
Maxwell’s letter goes on to accuse Acors of “fail(ing) to invite the Republican Party to the Logic and Accuracy Tests of the Voting Machines prior to the General Election in violation of the Code of Virginia” and concludes that “1there is reasonable question as to a conflict of interest in the honest administration of the 2023 General Election.”
It states that Acors is a close friend of Harris’s daughter and that she should recuse herself from the recount and “go on a paid leave of absence until all questions of the 2023 Election are resolved.”
In an email to the Advance, Acors said the three-member county Board of Electors met on Monday and that she provided them with a printed copy of the email she sent to chairs of both the Republican and Democrat committees inviting them to the logic and accuracy tests of the voting machines.
Acors said “about 20” members of the Republican committee were present at Monday’s meeting.
She said the board may decide to hand-count “one precinct for one office” and has asked the state Department of Elections for more information.
Acors said the board is not contesting the election results and that no recount is currently underway.