The Timeline Leading Up to Michele White’s Indictment

by Elizabeth Block

The following illustrates the lengthy and frustrating process filled with bad advice, and the persistence required to find errors on the 2020 tally tapes. The Virginia Department of Election issued an obstructing guidance which prevented public inspection of tally tapes and Statements of Results to ‘view only.’ We wanted copies to study the tapes themselves and the process below is how that guidance changed and how in preparation for public inspection, the current General Registrar found the problems. These 2020 tally tapes have still not been inspected by the public. The Attorney General promised their release as soon as is feasible. The court records (1, 2, 3)indicate that the current General Registrar Eric Olsen retained a copy in his office, however.

  1. I began dialoging with then Electoral Board member Robin Williams in March of 2021 on various Prince William County 2020 election questions,
  2. In June 2021 a local data analyst Jon Lareau, and EPEC CTO, posted an article that the Prince William 2020 election data did not add up and could not be mathematically pulled back to the precinct level, LINK, , and other,
  3. In July 2021 Rob Williams suggested to Jon and I that we go to the Clerk of Court to inspect Statements of Results with attached tally tapes from each precinct, early voting and post election to help answer our questions. My first attempt then failed because Rob forgot that 60 days post election these records cannot be inspected at the court, and at the time I did not know that part of the code, ,
  4.  Rob Williams acknowledged his error in an email to me on August 25, 2021, and said the General Registrar office is where I should receive copies per 24.2-668 Paragraph B, since the 60 days post-election passed,
  5.  General Registrar Phil Campbell refused 2020 tally tape and SOR inspection based on ELECT guidance dated August 27, 2021. Rob Williams and he argued back and forth on whether this was a chargeable FOIA, and Campbell was non committal on whether I could do anything but ‘look’ at them but be unable to write anything down or photo them due to the confusing nature of the guidance.
  6.  Rob Williams requested E Block appeal to the State Board of Elections on the ELECT guidance, 
  7.  On February 3, 2022, E Block submitted an appeal to the State Board to broaden the public inspection guidance, 
  8.  On March 2, 2022, The State Board refused comment to E Block’s appeal, saying Ms. Block,The State Board of Elections has received your emails dated February 3, March 1 and March 2 regarding guidance issued relating to Virginia Code §§ 24.2-658 and 24.2-668. Both sections concern the conduct of elections and are thus exempt from the Administrative Process Act (APA). Further, the guidance is exempt from appeal under the APA as a “guidance document” under Va. Code 2.2-4002.1(A).Your request was not discussed during closed session at the March 1, 2022 State Board of Elections meeting.Robert H. Brink
  9.  On March 5, 2022, Rob Williams asked for AG guidance, 
  10.  On March 23, 2022, the AG refused the Request of Rob Williams, even indicating that they did not answer Electoral Board members, which is not true as they have a Constitutional office.
  11.  April 12 and 13th were the dates set by new General Registrar Eric Olsen for 2020 tape transcription with Elizabeth Block and a group of volunteers, in lieu of copies, 
  12.  On April 11, 2022,  Eric Olsen cancelled agreed upon  sessions due to staff commitments and rescheduled until the next day, 
  13.  On April 12, 2022,  Eric Olsen cancelled sessions due to staff commitments and rescheduled for the following week, 
  14. On April 15, 2022, Eric Olsen called Elizabeth Block and the State Board of Elections  voted to invoke 24.2-104 due reported 2020 tally tape abnormalities, 
  15. On Monday, April 18, 2022, AG Special Assistant Joshua Leif met with Prince William County party chairs, Elizabeth Block, and Electoral Board Chair Rob Williams on the investigation.  The 2020 statement of results tally tapes were not made available for public inspection before they were taken to Richmond by the AG office, though I explicitly asked Leif.  Promises were made not to destroy the documents upon their return so public inspection could occur, 
  16. There is nothing that precludes public inspection of election materials if the AG is investigating, according to RPV lawyer Chris Marston over the phone,
  17. On June 1, 2022,  during Logic and Accuracy Testing, Eric Olsen verbally promised again to not destroy the 2020 tally tapes when they are returned. I said I wanted copies as well, 
  18.  On June 6, 2022,  a group of citizens, to include me, met with Commissioner Beals on matter that included rescinding this guidance with no response, 
  19. On  July 6, 2022, I verbally requested copies of the 2020 tally tapes and SORs of Eric Olsen, 
  20. On July 16, 2022, I emailed Commissioner Beals to rescind the guidance restricting tally tape inspection to view only. No response, 
  21.  On August 31, 2022, I emailed Eric Olsen requesting copies of the 2020 tally tapes when they are returned from the Attorney General’s possession, 
  22. On August 31, 2022, I emailed Commissioner Beals, frustrated again, requesting a revision to ELECT guidance on public inspection of election records.
  23. On August 31, 2022, I sent a draft Writ of Mandamus to Chris Marston, RPV lawyer, to let him know of my intent to sue ELECT over the public inspection of election records.
  24. On September 2, 2022, Commissioner Beals finally sent a revised ELECT Guidance to all GRs in Virginia, allowing the public to get copies of tally tapes and Statement of Results.
  25. Michelle White was reported to be indicted in September 7, 2022

The point is not getting White indicted, it is all that it took to get an acknowledgment that there are problems with the data. This happens to be from 2020, but it could have happened in any election.