VA AG Announces Election Integrity Unit

On Friday, Virginia Attorney General Jason Miyares announced the creation of the "Election Integrity Unit":

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.

Attorney General Miyares has the authority to create this division under Va. Code Ann. § 24.2-104:

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, assure the enforcement of the elections laws, and report the results of the investigation to the State Board.

RNLA Executive Director Michael Thielen said:

RNLA applauds the work that Virginia Attorney General Jason Miyares is doing to ensure safe and secure elections. The creation of the Election Integrity Unit is an important step in the right direction to boost the confidence of Virginia voters and brings greater transparency to the state's elections.

RNLA Vice President for Election Education Chris Marston added:

The Attorney General has taken another great step towards ensuring the integrity of elections in Virginia. Standing up a new unit in the AG's office to investigate and prosecute election crimes renews the faith of Virginians in our elections. Earlier this week, the AG announced a grand jury indictment of a former registrar for misconduct, so we know this announcement isn't just for show; it reflects a real commitment to securing our elections.

Attorney General Miyares' announcement comes just days after for Prince William County registrar of voters Michele White was indicted on corruption charges that allegedly took place in the months surrounding the 2020 election. The Washington Post reported:

Michele White, who resigned last year, is facing felony counts of corrupt conduct as an election official and making a false statement by an election official, as well as a misdemeanor charge of willful neglect of duty by an elected official. The crimes are alleged to have occurred between August and December 2020, while White was still in office. . .

The registrar oversees voter registration and helps administer elections in Virginia counties. The registrar is appointed by a county electoral board.

Virginia joins Florida which also recently created a state entity tasked with investigating election crimes.