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Virginia GOP urges voters to take advantage of easy-voting laws it tried to repeal

Republican Gov. Glenn Youngkin is now pushing Republicans to vote early in the November elections.

By Josh Israel - July 11, 2023
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Glenn Youngkin
Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin speaks during a news conference, April 27, 2023, in Tokyo. (AP Photo/Eugene Hoshiko)

The blog Blue Virginia reports that Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin and other Republican leaders have launched a campaign to urge Republican voters to take advantage of easy-voting laws they pushed to repeal.

The Republican Party of Virginia shared a video on Tuesday in which Youngkin encourages his supporters to vote early in the November 2023 legislative elections. With every seat in the Legislature up for election, voters will decide whether to give the GOP majorities in the Virginia Senate and House of Delegates and enable them to roll back reproductive rightsLGBTQ+ equalityclimate protectionsgun safety, and voting rights.

“We’re making Virginia the best place to live, work, and raise a family, and to take us to the next level, I need your early vote this year,” he says. “We can’t go into our elections down thousands of votes, and you can secure your vote before Election Day. Join the permanent absentee list or make a plan to vote early by mail or in person.”

Youngkin directs voters to a website paid for by the Republican Party of Virginia with links for early voting options.

Between 2020 and 2021, when Democrats held majorities in both houses of the Virginia General Assembly and the governorship, they enacted more than a dozen laws aimed at expanding voting rights and making it easier for all citizens to vote. These included changes to allow voting by mail without an excuse and without a postage stamp on the envelope, increasing the number of sites for early voting, and permitting voters to sign up for an annual automatic vote-by-mail list, all passed over strong GOP opposition.

After Youngkin and a narrow GOP majority in the House of Delegates were elected in 2021, they quickly moved to repeal the laws and make it harder to vote. In the 2023 legislative session, they passed bills along party lines to prohibit drop boxes for ballots, reduce the period for in-person early voting to just two weeks, and do away with the automatic vote-by-mail list. Those bills each died in the Democratic-led Senate.

Former President Donald Trump, who endorsed Youngkin in 2021, has made opposition to easy voting a key part of the GOP agenda. In 2020, Trump falsely claimed that voting by mail causes fraud and chaos in American elections. Like Trump, Youngkin has also cast doubt on the integrity of elections.

“It’s blatant hypocrisy,” House Democratic Leader Don Scott said in a statement shared with the American Independent Foundation. “This is a party that is on the record against early voting. They are doing this whole push to pull the wool over our constituents’ eyes and hide from the fact that they’ve worked to make it harder for Virginians to vote at every turn. They’ve undermined our democratic systems for years and if allowed the majority, they will vote to restrict voting access.”

Democratic Delegate Cia Price told the American Independent Foundation on Tuesday that Republicans should apologize for their hypocrisy:

I would be more thrilled if the MAGA Republican Extremists decided to stop proliferating dangerous and wildly false claims about our free and fair elections systems. Their actions have put lives at risk and undermined the confidence in our entire democracy. I demand alongside their calls for GOP members to utilize the early voting and vote-by-mail options, that Democrats have instituted, apologies for the previous falsehoods. We also need apologies for and cooperation in undoing the damage of racially and politically gerrymandered districts across the nation. We need their votes for the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act. We need them to halt their court cases to invalidate valid voters from voting roles. We need their votes to help end prison gerrymandering and for automatic voter rights restoration. And so much more. Until then, this is nothing more than political games from people only focused on using any means available to grab power from people with whom they disagree or devalue.

The Democratic Party of Virginia also called out Republicans for their “change of heart (or cynical political stunt).”

“We welcome the Virginia Republicans’ newly discovered interest in promoting democracy,” press secretary Liam Watson said in a statement. “Of course, we wish they had shown up in support of early voting and vote-by-mail years ago, instead of consistently voting against reforms designed to strengthen democracy in the commonwealth.”

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.


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