PORTSMOUTH, Va. (WAVY) — What happened in Arizona didn’t stay in Arizona. Unproven claims of fraud in the 2020 election have triggered new policies across the country and right here in Virginia. Attorney General Jason Miyares is the head of the new Virginia Election Integrity Unit.
“I have original jurisdiction to prosecute any violations of an elections law. That’s not new authority, that’s the authority that’s been given to me for years,” said Miyares during a recent visit to Virginia Beach.
The NAACP calls the unit an original plan to suppress the vote.
“This is more to create confusion; it’s also a way to make people feel uncomfortable to vote,” said Gaylene Kanoyton who is president of the Hampton NAACP.
The state-wide group is calling for the immediate disbandment of the 20-person unit.
In a statement, Robert Barnette, the president of the Virginia NAACP said, “We demand instead that it be replaced with a task force focused on reducing voter suppression; ending voter intimidation; increasing voter registration; and increasing voter participation.”
Miyares, who is from Virginia Beach, is not backing down.
“So what this is, it advises our people who supervise the Virginia Department of Elections on what the law is and what the law isn’t…being able to look at election irregularities,” said Miyares.
Miyares Spokesperson Victoria LaCivita later issued a statement in response to the NAACP. Read the statement below:
“ It’s surprising that Terry McAuliffe, Hillary Clinton, and Stacey Abrams’ concerns about elections haven’t received this level of pushback from partisan Democrats and the NAACP.
“Attorney General Miyares’ mother fled Communist Cuba and an oppressive regime that suppressed her right to vote and the right to speak freely, so, this issue is personal for him; Jason Miyares would never do anything to disenfranchise someone’s voting rights. The right to vote is one of the most sacred rights that we have in America, and Attorney General Miyares is committed to ensuring that it’s easy to vote and that every vote in Virginia is counted.”
“While there is no evidence of widespread fraud in Virginia, our office is committed to addressing irregularities and problems that may occur, including some of the problems that the NAACP has challenged in various states across the nation.”Miyares Spokesperson Victoria LaCivita
Just a week prior, the state confirmed some 100,000 voter registrations are delayed because of a technical problem. Civil rights groups are watching this issue as new same-day registration and voting starts October 18.
“So if you missed the deadline on the 17th, you can register and you can vote, same-day, October 18 all the way to November 8 which is election day,” said Kanoyton. The ballot becomes a provisional ballot and later reviewed by the electoral board.
Additionally, on Sunday, October 16, voting takes place in the Hampton Registrar’s Office at 101 Kings St. (in the Old Courthouse) from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m.
If you have questions about your registration status, you can check online with the Department of Elections.