Follow us on: FacebookTwitterYoutubeInstagram

by Brandon Jarvis

Democratic gubernatorial candidate Terry McAuliffe has already created and released a digital ad using his opponent’s comments from an event Monday night when he reiterated an old campaign talking point saying he wants Virginia’s election machines to be audited. “I think we need to make sure that people trust these voting machines,” said Glenn Youngkin the Republican gubernatorial nominee. “And I just think like, I grew up in a world where you have an audit every year, in businesses you have an audit. So let’s just audit the voting machines, publish it so everybody can see it.”

Voter machines in Virginia are already audited after each election, however. “Va. Code requires the Department of Elections to coordinate an annual post-election risk-limiting audit of ballot scanner machines, which will be performed by the localities,” the Dept. of Elections handbook reads. “The purpose of the audit is to study the accuracy of ballot scanner machines.” 

And while Youngkin expressed the desire to start a process that actually already takes place, Democrats still seized on the opportunity to try and tie Youngkin to the same crowd of Republicans that want to audit the 2020 election results. “Glenn Youngkin’s priorities are clear: he is running for governor to bring Donald Trump’s dangerous conspiracy theories to Virginia,” McAuliffe said in a statement Wednesday night.  “Now, nine months after the deadly insurrection at the U.S. Capitol brought on by these same Trump lies, Glenn is again casting doubt on election results and putting Trump’s conspiracy theories first.”

Youngkin then accused McAuliffe of trying to end the audit of election machines each year after the backlash for his original statement. “Such a shame to see Terry McAuliffe indicate he will end Virginia’s routine election audits,” he tweeted Tuesday night. “Why would he oppose a best practice recommended by bipartisan experts?” 

McAuliffe has often hit Youngkin for his election integrity comments throughout the campaign while simultaneously linking him to Donald Trump, who still pushes election conspiracy theories daily through press releases. His PAC sent out a press release late Wednesday night linking to an article from The Hill highlighting Youngkin’s machine-audit comments.

For the most part, however, Youngkin has shied away from election integrity talking points since winning the nomination in May. He attended an election integrity event this summer to speak about requiring photo IDs to vote — he reiterated that in a tweet Wednesday night. “Not a surprise McAuliffe opposes audits. He also opposes requiring photo IDs to vote. These are common sense measures!” 

The McAuliffe campaign has not indicated that he supports ending the yearly audits of election machines in Virginia. They did not provide additional comment for this article.

While Youngkin has acknowledged several times that Biden was the legitimate winner of the 2020 election, he continues to campaign with Republicans like state Sen. Amanda Chase R-Chesterfield, a strong advocate for auditing the 2020 election who travels the country to rally with like-minded individuals. 

Chase led a protest outside of the Virginia Capitol this summer to try and convince her colleagues in the General Assembly to support a forensic audit of the 2020 election results in Virginia. The move was unsuccessful. 

She has since been campaigning with Youngkin from time to time, showing the desire of Republicans to overlook their differences in order to win this November. They have not won a statewide race in Virginia since 2009. In beating McAuliffe, Chase has seemed to have found common ground with Youngkin despite his public statements contradicting so much of what she has been pushing for in recent months. 

“Who on God’s green earth would want another four years of this hell the Democrat Party has put us through?” Chase said in a statement to Virginia Scope Tuesday morning. “Firing employees because they won’t get a vaccine, catering to criminals over law abiding citizens, teaching racism in our schools and not wanting input from parents. Nobody in their right mind would vote to continue this insanity. Voting for Youngkin is the only way to stop this clown show and put the adults back in charge.”

With less than four weeks until election day, a poll released Wednesday from Emerson College showed McAuliffe with a 49-48 lead over Youngkin. 

“At a time when Virginians are worried about good jobs, a quality education, and the rising costs of health care, Glenn has called his Trumpian election integrity plan the ‘most important issue,’” McAuliffe said in a statement Wednesday. “He refuses to let go of Trump’s 2020 election conspiracy theories. This behavior is dangerous and it’s disqualifying.”

Election day is Nov. 2. 

Virginia Scope is an independent news publication that is funded largely by donations and subscribers. As local newsrooms are losing writers each day, we are trying to fill the void to ensure that the public is informed and that leaders are held accountable for their actions. Please consider becoming a paid subscriber to our newsletter or making a donation through Paypal below so we can continue to work in Virginia. 

By vascope