Virginia Attorney General (AG) Jason Miyares announced on Friday that his office is launching a new Election Integrity Unit to supply “advice, support, and resources to ensure that Virginia election law continues to be applied in a uniform manner” and to “increase confidence” in state elections.
According to a press release from Miyares’s office, the creation of the unit serves to “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.”
Comprised of over 20 “attorneys, investigators and paralegals from across the various divisions in [the] Office of the Attorney General,” the unit is planning to work with “the State Board,” “Department of Elections,” and “local election officials” throughout the 2022 midterm elections “and beyond.”
“I pledged during the 2021 campaign to work to increase transparency and strengthen confidence in our state elections. It should be easy to vote, and hard to cheat,” Miyares said in a statement. “The Election Integrity Unit will work to help to restore confidence in our democratic process in the Commonwealth.”
Under the Code of Virginia, Miyares is granted broad jurisdiction regarding elections, with the law stating that the attorney general” shall have full authority to do whatever is necessary or appropriate to enforce the election laws or prosecute violations thereof” and “shall exercise the authority granted … to conduct an investigation, prosecute a violation [and] assure the enforcement of the elections laws.”
The announcement of the new task force comes two days after Miyares’s office indicted a former Virginia voter registrar “for corruption and false statements related to the 2020 election.”
According to a report from Just the News, “[e]x-Prince William County voter registrar Michele White [has been] charged with two felony counts alleging corrupt conduct as an election official and making a false statement, and one misdemeanor charge of willful neglect of duty by an elected official.”
While Miyares did not elaborate on what specific actions White took, the announcement from the Virginia Republican said that the unlawful conduct occurred between August and December of 2020.
A statement from Miyares’s office provided to Just the News did, however, reveal that the “discrepancies” reported to “the Commissioner of Elections and State Board of Elections earlier this year” by Prince William Country’s current director of elections/general registrar, Eric Olsen, are what ultimately led to the launch of the investigation.