HAMPTON, Va. — Hampton Electoral Board Chair David Dietrich agreed to resign following a controversial Facebook post, a spokesperson for Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin said.
The announcement comes after the Republican Party of Hampton said on Friday it was made aware of a post that was written by Dietrich back in February 2021.
The party shared a screenshot of the post, in which Dietrich used racist language to criticize the U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin and retired Army Lieutenant General Russel L. Honoré.
Hampton Republican Party Chairman, Philip Siff, said he wants to see changes after the Facebook post stirred up backlash.
"I made the mistake of appointing him and I am rectifying that mistake," said Siff. "We're here to move forward and make things better."
Siff said his party demanded Dietrich resign immediately after learning of the post. When Dietrich allegedly refused to do so, the party had asked the chief judge of the Hampton Circuit Court to remove Dietrich from his position.
Siff said the next step is to choose Dietrich's replacement, whom he says he wants to be appropriate and fit for the position. He said he welcomes anyone who wants to make a difference in the electoral process to come forward, make their voices heard, and help make a change.
"I want to make sure that my elections are run according to the law. I want to make sure it's fair and legal and that every legal vote is counted," said Siff. "My recommendation out there to people who are upset, come forward. Let's make this better."
On Saturday, Governor Youngkin weighed in on the situation, also calling for Dietrich to step down. According to Youngkin's spokesperson, Dietrich agreed to do so.
"As governor, I serve all Virginians. I won’t accept racism in our Commonwealth or our party. The abhorrent words of a Hampton Roads official are beyond unacceptable and have no place in Virginia," Youngkin said.
The Hampton Branch NAACP released the following statement on Dietrich's removal:
Democracy--that is, power held by and for the people--is fundamental to who we are as Americans. There is a long and well known history of efforts to target and suppress the participation of Black voters. Our democracy at the ballot box should never be compromised by a long time known racist that promotes public lynchings. In this climate of fake news, the topic of deception is to usurp the integrity of elections by stating irregularities in the voting process.
As the oldest civil rights organization in America, the NAACP will continue in our daring mission to ensure the full participation of Black voters in our democracy. Hampton Circuit Court has done the right thing by entering its Order to remove David Dietrich from his role in the oversight of our local elections. But, let the fact that he ever achieved such a position serve as a warning to all Virginians and to those across this country... white supremacy and nationalism is a persistent threat. Be alert. Be vigilant. Be unwavering.
The electoral board is comprised of three members that oversee election duties, including training election officers, preparing ballots, and certifying results. As of Monday morning, Dietrich's name isn't listed on the City of Hampton's website.