And we hope GOP Chairman Outlaw will join us

I want to address the Nottoway County Republican Chairman’s untruthful and incoherent attack on our election system, public safety rules, and the Democrats of Nottoway County.

I was saddened to read his attack against me and my committee’s appointees to the Nottoway County Electoral Board last week.

Our appointees have acted with nothing but integrity, and Chairman Outlaw would know that if he bothered to represent Nottoway County Republicans by attending Electoral Board meetings.

I asked the Electoral Board to remove Sharon Caldwell -- an election officer who refused to wear a mask -- out of concern for the health of voters who would be coming in and out of the Blackstone Police Station and every other election officer who works in our polling places, including herself.

The Chair of the Electoral Board spoke with the Department of Health and the Emergency Planner for the Piedmont Health District, and they both supported this preemptive action.

Partisan politics had nothing to do with my decision, and I would have done the same if Mrs. Caldwell were a Democratic election officer.

It is frankly concerning that the Republicans in our county and the Voter Registrar are so determined to keep Mrs. Caldwell – a Republican election officer – in her position despite the obvious health risks.

It is further disturbing that the Voter Registrar has decided to put her to work in her office, where the Electoral Board has limited influence.

Neither I nor my committee’s appointees to the Electoral Board questioned Mrs. Caldwell regarding her condition.

However, it is the position of the Electoral Board that anyone who cannot wear a mask -- regardless of the reason -- cannot work at a polling location both for their safety and the safety of the public.

Chairman Outlaw’s insinuation that this is some sort of coordinated partisan attack could not be further from the truth.

In fact, I was the one this summer who was in conversation with the Virginia Department of Elections fighting to ensure that tainted documents were not filed -- in an effort to maintain the integrity of the Republican Senate primary election -- when, as far as I could tell, Chairman Outlaw was absent for the duration of the crisis.

Rather than engaging in desperate election year propaganda, he should be writing me a letter of appreciation.

I am a proud member of the Democratic Party that believes every vote matters -- both Republi can and Democratic -- and that is why I want to make sure our polling locations are safe places for everyone to cast their ballots and for our election officers. Any suggestion otherwise is a flat-out lie.

Voting is a fundamental right in our democracy, and it is the Nottoway County Democratic Committee’s goal to make sure everyone in our community can exercise that right.

Democrats have been fighting hard this year to ensure that voting is accessible to everyone, passing laws to make it more convenient for voters across the Commonwealth to cast their ballots.

I will continue to act in the best interests of the citizens of Nottoway County.

I hope that Bill Outlaw will someday choose to do the same, and that he plans to do more for the health and safety of our children as a member of the School Board than he is prepared to do for the public and our election officers.

DISCLAIMER: Not authorized by any candidate or candidate’s committee.


Thomas Crews is Chairman of the Nottoway County Democratic Committee, a local political organizer, and an alumnus of SVCC and the University of Virginia. He is a proud lifelong resident of Nottoway County.

Blackstone Courier Record

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Blackstone, VA 23824

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