Photo for Tuesday EDIT2

Virginia voting is at risk. A report from a General Assembly oversight committee casts serious doubt on the competence and equity of state officials who oversee the most important function in a democracy. According to the Joint Legislative Audit and Review Commission (JLARC), the Virginia Department of Elections was open to helping Democrats during the administration of former Gov. Terry McAuliffe, a Democrat.

Jamie Bitz, a JLARC analyst, described “a perception of political bias that was reflected in decisions about certain policies and certain agency operations.” He told The Times-Dispatch that former agency leaders helped Democratic groups skirt campaign finance laws and rules. “We heard of one example where the previous deputy commissioner at the agency very openly stated to a number of people, including to one high-level elections official in Virginia, that one of her key responsibilities was to help Hillary Clinton be elected president,” Bitz said. This is corruption, pure and simple.

Free and fair elections are essential for a working democracy. Even the federal government has managed to cobble together a process for overseeing election laws that is reasonably nonpartisan. Virginia’s failure to do so is a betrayal of its citizens and its founding principles.

JLARC’s other findings are also disturbing. The state’s voter registration lists are “likely mostly accurate.” That’s not good enough. Its voter registration IT system is “not sufficiently functional or reliable.” Why not? And the Department of Elections’ “oversight does not provide full assurance of election integrity and uniformity.”

The integrity of elections, which is essential to the legitimacy of government, is dependent on the integrity and competence of officials who manage the elections. Virginia faces a crisis. Gov. Ralph Northam and House Speaker Kirk Cox should work together to resolve it now. It is disturbing that the commonwealth appears incapable of fairly and effectively handling one of its most basic responsibilities.

Commenting is limited to Times-Dispatch subscribers. To sign up, click here.
If you’re already a subscriber and need to activate your access or log in, click here.

(15) comments

Mike McClary

I read the entire report. It makes many sensible recommendations. But the editorial board seems to be crying, "the sky is falling, the sky is falling." I've voted in elections in Fairfax; Fauquier, Madison, Arlington, and Culpeper Counties since I turned twenty-one a long time ago. I've worked at the polls. I've overseen the counting of provisional ballots. In every single case, I never experienced or seen a problem. It is a fact that voter fraud and other irregularities are virtually neglible in Virginia (there were exceptions in the last election cycle and in the current one -- they have been well publicized). Other states are not so lucky. Think North Carolina and Alabama.

The sky is not falling, but some politicians are scared out of their minds that the voters are going to make their voices heard. Elections are not at risk in Virginia.

I'm not always happy about the way elections turn out, but this is supposed to be a democracy. The General Assembly should give the Department of Elections the money it needs to do its job effectively and efficiently.

Fred Mertz

Fake IDs are a huge buiness. Anyone with a fake ID could vote illegally. Corrupt precinct workers can alter vote totals easily.

Hal Jones

Fred Mertz,
Lots of investigations into voter fraud have been done…They’ve found that the actual occurrences of voter fraud are about 1 in 1 Billion…..I think we’re gonna be OK…

Hal Jones

Oh Noes…Republicans claiming they’re victims…….Didd any of you real Muricans actually read the report? What the editorial and you are whining about is far different from the actual report…..The reports summary says : "WHAT WE FOUND
Virginia uses a fairly robust process to maintain its voter registration list, but can further improve process and guidance
Maintaining the accuracy of Virginia’s list of 5.5 million registered voters is critically important, but also extremely difficult. The dynamic nature of the registration list makes it extremely difficult to maintain a completely accurate list and to reliably quantify the accuracy of the list.
However, available evidence suggests the list is likely mostly accurate because (1) most individuals on the list are the same from year to year, and (2) ELECT uses fairly comprehensive sources and robust proce- dures to maintain the list. ELECT does not, though, make full use of available data sources to fully ensure the accuracy of the list. ELECT has historically allo- cated less than one staff position to maintaining the registration list. ELECT also has not provided ade- quate guidance to the 133 general registrars about how to decide whether to add or remove a voter from the list.”

Save your cries of victimhood till after the November elections……You’re going to need them….

ADRIAN FLANAGAN

While the political bent is deplorable, I'm actually far more disturbed by the state of election systems. People, these systems are being attacked by major foreign government military operations. And yet they're woefully inadequate at basic security.
Fortunately most (all?) of Virginia's voting systems are backed by a paper record. It's critical those paper records are verified.

Melissa Peters

TalkingPointsMemo: "For decades, complaints about “voter fraud” have been a core component of Republican right-wing folklore — and one of their most useful election-year tools, particularly in places where winning the white vote isn’t enough to win elections. " JLARC found some definite problems and made good recommendations to mitigate bias from appointees, but some people just want to be ugly and make it about Clinton.

TOM EATON

"but some people just want to be ugly"
You're right - we should all try to be more like #resistance...

JOHN KING

When my father was alive, he voted republican. Since he died, he's been voting democrat.

RJ STRAFFORD

Perhaps he has seen the light in more ways than one.

JOHN KING

Former Chicago Mayor Richard Daley: Vote early and vote often.

TRACY PETERS

Just the elimination of those who feel entitled to the coffers filled by others and those who cannot tolerate losing, would make for a better state and country after the winner is announced … And certainly, better than the Un-United Socialist States of America as envisioned by Obama and the other sore losers. Period.

ROBERT PAYNE

JLARC’s other findings are also disturbing. The state’s voter registration lists are “likely mostly accurate.” That’s not good enough. Its voter registration IT system is “not sufficiently functional or reliable.” Why not? And the Department of Elections’ “oversight does not provide full assurance of election integrity and uniformity.”

And all along we were told it was the Russians when actually it was the McAuliffe/Clintons(fox guarding the hen house) trying to influence our elections. Now we know why the VA Dem's are opposed to voter ID's at polling places on election day. And nationwide they want us to believe that none of those 13 million undocumented are voting. It doesn't pass the straight face test.

I hope the TD and stays on top of this. I can't wait to read Jeff Shapiro's next column!

TOM EATON

A former HRC operative corrupted VA's election process and gamed the system to favor Democrats... what are the odds? Why would anyone think that McAuliffe would stop, or be satisfied with skirting due process to restore felons voting rights?

ADRIAN FLANAGAN

The problem with restoring felon's "voting rights" is right there in the term -- voting is a RIGHT. There's no rational excuse for denying to someone who has *served his or her term* and has had their other rights restored. It certainly shouldn't be dependent on the whim of an elected official.

TOM EATON

So you're for restoring felons 2nd amendment rights? After all it's "right there in the term -- and it "certainly shouldn't be dependent on the whim of an elected official."
The only reason you and sleazes like McAuliffe give a rats rear about felons is because your party has cornered the coveted criminal / predator demographic.
Illegals / felons and socialists are the future of the Dem party. That's not pathetic at all.
Who knew when the swamp was drained it would flow due south, all the way from DC through northern VA.

Welcome to the discussion.

Please keep it clean, turn off CAPS LOCK and don't threaten anyone. Be truthful, nice and proactive. Comments cannot be edited or deleted once posted. To flag a comment to the page administrator, click “report” next to that comment.

You must be a digital subscriber to view this article.