Virginia Attorney General Creates Unit to Combat Voter Fraud


Republican Virginia Attorney General Jason Miyares announced on Friday the creation of an “election integrity unit” that will provide legal advice and prosecute violations of election law, despite the absence of widespread problems of voter fraud or other irregularities in the state.

Miyares joins a growing list of GOP leaders who have pushed for tougher election law enforcement following former President Donald Trump’s baseless claims that the 2020 election was stolen from him. The efforts have been criticized by voting rights groups and Democrats, who say their real goal is to suppress turnout and intimidate voters.

Miyares said the unit will be made up of more than 20 attorneys, investigators and paralegals, who will work with the state Board of Elections and local officials to “provide guidance, support and resources” to ensure that the electoral law “continues to be applied in a uniform manner.”

Under the Virginia code, the attorney general has broad discretion to enforce election laws.

“I pledged during the 2021 campaign to work to increase transparency and build trust in our national elections. It should be easy to vote and hard to cheat,” Miyares said in a statement. ‘Electoral Integrity will work to help restore confidence in our democratic process in the Commonwealth.’

The creation of the unit was rejected by Virginia Democrats.

“Virginia Republicans have been trying to find voter fraud in Virginia for over a decade without success because it doesn’t exist,” said State Sen. Scott Surovell (D-Fairfax). “Whether [Miyares] has 20 lawyers with time to hunt ghosts, maybe it’s time to review the resources his office really needs.

Michael D. Gilbert, a University of Virginia law professor and election law expert, said there were few signs of significant problems with voting irregularities in Virginia — or anywhere in the country. ‘somewhere else.

“There is no evidence of widespread voter fraud nationally or in the state of Virginia,” Gilbert said. “There is no evidence that voter fraud has altered elections in Virginia at any time in recent memory. It is not at all clear to me that this is a valuable use of government resources.

Miyares’ decision comes the same week his office announced the indictment of the former Prince William County Registrar of Electors for corruption-related crimes and misdemeanors while in office. Miyares’ office did not detail the specific allegations against Michele White. White declined to comment on the charges.

Former Prince William County clerk charged with bribery

The Republican Party of Virginia pointed to the case Friday as evidence that the new unity is needed. The party praised Miyares for the indictment in a statement, saying the attorney general “sends a strong message to election officials across the state to obey the law.”

Other Republican officials have also pushed efforts to uncover the alleged frauds.

One of the state’s most outspoken Holocaust deniers, State Senator Amanda F. Chase (R-Chesterfield), in February proposed amendments to the floor of the state budget bill to strengthen ” election integrity,” including one to spend $70 million on a “full forensic investigation.” audit” of the 2020 election. Chase won the support of only three other Republicans while nine others ducked out and avoided having to vote. The six remaining Republicans voted against, as did all Democrats.

A Virginia assistant attorney general who oversaw election matters left Miyares’ office in February after the Washington Post reported that she hailed Jan. 6 rioters as patriots and repeatedly claimed Trump had won. the 2020 presidential election in Facebook posts. Miyares has said in interviews that he believes President Biden won the 2020 election.

Virginia’s assistant attorney general absent after Facebook’s Jan. 6 revelations

Virginia Governor Glenn Youngkin has refused to acknowledge that Biden defeated Trump, until he won the Republican nomination in the 2021 election.


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