‘Possibility of fraud’: Virginia GOP officials split with Youngkin over early voting integrity
Republican gubernatorial candidate Glenn Youngkin urges Virginia voters to vote early, but some county GOP officials are sounding the alarm bells about the safety of the advance voting system – a story that in the past has proven to be true dangerous for the party.
Arguments that early voting can lead to lost ballots and identity fraud revive memories of the Georgia Senate runoff in January, when President Trump’s claims of a rigged election were blamed for suppressing Republican participation and giving Democrats control of the upper house of Congress.
The worries of Republicans across Virginia reflect the sentiment of Mr. Trump, who continues to boast unproven accusations that massive voter fraud cost him his re-election in November.
“There is fraud. There’s no question about that, ”said Jim Trollinger of the Fairfax Republican Party. “People say, ‘Oh, this is a conspiracy’, but this is nonsense. If you look at the facts and look at what happened [in November], it was a fraudulent election.
Mr Trollinger said his reluctance to adopt early voting in Virginia lies within the 45-day window. He said the delay offers “too many possibilities for fraud”.
“It was developed by the Democrats in this state, which has become more advantageous for fraud than the rest of the states in the Union,” Mr. Trollinger told the Washington Times.
Republican strategist Doug Heye said party officials in Virginia were taking risks.
“If they don’t believe the election will be free and fair, your voters are less likely to participate, and that’s a big part of why Republicans lost in Georgia,” he said. “That’s part of why I think you see Youngkin trying to play it down.”
Mr. Youngkin, who voted early with his wife in Fairfax County last week, told supporters to use the state’s long window to vote.
“I think the process is going to be fair,” Mr. Youngkin said. “The process will reflect who got the most votes. “
The Virginia General Assembly expanded early voting last year in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, which has changed voting protocols in many states and localities.
Several states have also relaxed the rules for postal voting, which critics say is the most fraud-sensitive method of voting.
Vance Wilkins, chairman of the Amherst County Republican Party, said he planned to vote early because he feared someone else might use his identity.
“When you have an election that lasts longer than 45 days, you are much more likely to play with the system. You can go vote and use my name, and no photo ID is required, ”said Wilkins, past president of the Virginia House of Delegates.
Mr Youngkin has followed a thin line in dismissing allegations of rigged elections and promising more guarantees in Virginia, including voter identification laws.
Terry McAuliffe, Mr. Youngkin’s Democratic opponent, used the Republican’s “electoral integrity” campaign to link him to Mr. Trump’s accusations of a stolen election.
“Glenn Youngkin said” Electoral integrity is THE most pressing issue Virginia faces, “McAuliffe tweeted recently.” This guy is more focused on Donald Trump’s ridiculous conspiracies than the real issues facing him our Commonwealth is facing. “
In their first debate, Mr. Youngkin pledged to accept the outcome of the election if Mr. McAuliffe wins. He dismissed the idea that fraud played a role in Virginia last year when Joseph R. Biden beat Mr. Trump by a 10-point margin.
When asked about the claims of Republican officials, the Youngkin campaign said it trusted the process at the local level.
“The Virginia Republican Party has been working for months to build the most sophisticated election operations team ever to ensure that every polling place is safe and secure and that every legal vote is counted,” Door said. – speech of the Youngkin campaign.
Encouraging people to vote early, she said, is “the best way to win back the Commonwealth and ensure Virginia has safe communities, a thriving economy and the best education system.”
Mr Youngkin edged Mr McAuliffe in a poll released last week after months behind the Democrat.
The University of Mary Washington poll showed Mr Youngkin had 48% support compared to Mr McAuliffe’s 43%.
The poll of 1,000 Virginia residents and 528 likely voters was conducted from September 7 to 13. It had a 4.1% margin of error among probable voters and 3.1% among registered voters.