Allegations of election sabotage and voter intimidation in Gloucester

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PORTSMOUTH, Va. (WAVY) – Gloucester Local Politics: Well, it’s complicated. Fraud allegations for electoral fraud are currently under discussion in the city on the Middle Peninsula.

Gloucester, with its charming Main Street, was founded in 1651 and has a population of 38,711.

According to the 2020 census, Gloucester County’s black population is 8%. Pastor Kevin Smith is in the 8%. The former school board member is the only minority on the board.

In an exclusive 10 On Your Side, Smith calls on the US Department of Justice to investigate an alleged plan to remove his name from the November vote.

Smith, a general candidate, is seeking re-election in the race against Republican challenger Teresa Altemus. In a Zoom interview, Smith explained the electoral landscape.

“I am a minority in this county. Everyone knows this and in the last election I won and I won an election by defeating a white Republican incumbent. I know we have problems, but I had no problems at all, ”said Smith.

But now Smith claims that several people tried to remove his name from the ballot by accusing Smith’s camp of forging a name on the required petition from 125 registered voters.

10 On Your Side has reviewed part of the petition that includes the surname Hodges. According to the document, Hodges’ name was collected in June after a funeral.

Regina Mobley: Did you see him [Hodges] sign it?

Kevin Schmidt: Yes sir.

Regina Mobley: At some point someone turned to the election officials to say that Hodges’ name was fake?

Kevin Schmidt: Yes sir.

Regina Mobley: “On the contrary, Mr. Hodges signed an affidavit – you believe, under some pressure – that he did not sign the petition?

Kevin Schmidt: “Yes, that is my belief.”

The Virginia Beach Commonwealth Prosecutor’s Office investigated the matter and Smith said he had been acquitted of all wrongdoing. In a letter dated September 1, 2020, Special Prosecutor Janee D. Joslin wrote: “We believe there is no evidence of a crime.”

Regina Mobley: “If you watch this episode, will we?Jim Crow 2.0 ′ in Gloucester? ”

Kevin Schmidt: “I think when it comes to stopping people from voting for a candidate, I wouldn’t say that all of Gloucester is like that… I have a lot of friends in Gloucester Country who are Republicans and Democrats… contact a lot of people in this community. “

Altemus issued a response that was posted on Facebook.

Altemus wrote in part: “If he wants to play in the mud, he can do it alone … The investigation categorically had nothing to do with me …”

WAVY-TV expects an interview with Altemus in the near future.

Smith has called on the Justice Department to investigate whether a crime has been committed to challenge Hodges’ signature.

“My name would have been struck off the ballot. I would have lost my church; I am pastor of a church. It’s a crime that can be punished with up to 10 years in prison … It could have had a devastating effect on my life, career and family, “said Smith.

Meanwhile, the Gloucester NAACP is investigating a lawsuit alleging campaign sabotage and voter intimidation. In a statement, President Brenda Dixon wrote:

“We have received a complaint about alleged campaign sabotage and voter intimidation. The NAACP is committed to ensuring that everyone has equal opportunities to run for office and that all voters have access to voting. Therefore, the NAACP Gloucester Branch is seeking information from the Gloucester County Board of Elections to determine whether we need to refer this matter to the State or National Organization for further civil rights protection procedures for citizens of Gloucester to exercise their constitutional right to run and vote for the candidate of your choice, free from subtle as well as overt intimidation. Brenda Dixon President of NAACP Gloucester Virginia Branch 7070-B. “

WAVY-TV 10 has reviewed several documents provided by the Commonwealth Prosecutor’s Office in Virginia Beach.

Smith has not received a response from the federal prosecutor asking whether they will consider his complaint.

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