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AG Miyares Announces New Election Integrity Unit

Virginia’s Attorney General Jason Miyares (R) announced on September 9 the creation of the Election Integrity Unit at the Office of the Attorney General. This unit will provide legal advice to the Department of Elections, investigate and prosecute violations of Virginia election law, work with the election community throughout the year to ensure uniformity and legality in application of election laws, and work with law enforcement to ensure legality and purity in elections.

The purpose of the unit is to provide advice, support, and resources to ensure that Virginia election law continues to be applied in a uniform manner, and increase confidence in our state elections.

“I pledged during the 2021 campaign to work to increase transparency and strengthen confidence in our state elections. It should be easy to vote, and hard to cheat. The Election Integrity Unit will work to help to restore confidence in our democratic process in the Commonwealth,” said Attorney General Miyares.

Virginia has a system of elections that divides authority among 133 local electoral boards and general registrars and the bi-partisan State Board of Elections. The new Election Integrity Unit will work with the State Board, the Department of Elections and the dedicated, hard-working local election officials in the upcoming election and beyond. The unit is made up of more than 20 attorneys, investigators and paralegals from across the various divisions in Office of the Attorney General.

Under Virginia law, the Attorney General has broad original jurisdiction in the area of elections. Specifically, the law states that the Attorney General ”shall have full authority to do whatever is necessary or appropriate to enforce the election laws or prosecute violations thereof. The Attorney General shall exercise the authority granted by this section to conduct an investigation, prosecute a violation [and] assure the enforcement of the elections laws . . . ].”

As reported in this opinion column, many in Roanoke County, which over the years has become increasingly Republican-leaning, have been surprised to learn the County registrar is daughter of the then-Chairperson of the Roanoke County Democrat Committee.

Furthermore, a recently-resigned, former member of the three-person Roanoke County Electoral Board was observed screaming at a volunteer poll watcher at a public voting place on Election Day 2021. According to the Roanoke County Democrats’ website, that former Electoral Board member now heads the Democrats’ “Education” unit as one of their elected officers.

As reported in The Roanoke Star here, the issue of election integrity made national headlines again this week when a grand jury in Manassas, Virginia indicted the former registrar of Prince William County, Michele White, on charges of corruption, false statements, and willful neglect of duty. With about a half-million residents, fast-growing Prince William is Virginia’s second-most populous county and thus plays an enormous role in the outcomes of state elections.

Attorney General Miyares is a native of Virginia Beach. The son of a refugee who fled Communism in Cuba, he became the Old Dominion’s first Latino Attorney General and the first Hispanic to hold state-wide office after he defeated Virginia’s former AG, Democrat Mark Herring, in 2021.

Updated 9-10-22

 

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