By Leonard E. Colvin
New Journal and Guide
The Virginia State NAACP believes ongoing actions by state Republican officials are designed to oppress minority voting during the upcoming November 8 Mid-term elections.
At the top of the list is Attorney General Miyares’ creation of an Election Integrity Unit by his office on September 9.
Miyares said the unit will provide legal advice to the Department of Elections, investigate and prosecute violations of Virginia election law, and work with the election community throughout the year to ensure uniformity and legality in the application of the election laws.
But the state NAACP is leading the call for it to be disbanded.
“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,” wrote Robert N. Barnette, Jr., President of Virginia NAACP, in a statement to the media.
“Many studies have shown that ‘voter fraud’ is virtually nonexistent in the Commonwealth of Virginia and the Washington Post conducted a study that determined that only 31 out of 1 billion votes cast in the United States between 2000 and 2014 were alleged to be potentially fraudulent.”
Barnette said the Attorney General should focus on ensuring all eligible Virginians have the right to vote and that all eligible Virginians can vote without threat of intimidation.
Gaylene Kanoyton is the President of the Hampton NAACP, and the state organization’s Political Action chair. She said leaders of the NAACP and other voting rights activists believe the Attorney General is seeking to resolve a problem that does not exist and to intimidate Black voters.
Meanwhile, Kaynoyton said the State Elections Department has not updated its website, after 8 months into the Youngkin administration.
She said critical information about same-day voting, and other data are confusing or missing.
“We need the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) part of the site updated. A lot of information is confusing or missing,” she said. “The NAACP is working to make sure our people are educated as the November election gets closer.”
The Attorney General said his Election Integrity Unit will be composed of attorneys, investigators, and paralegals from across the various divisions in the Office of the Attorney General.
“I’m hoping it will not result in what went on in Florida with accusations of voter integrity. It feels like it’s going down that path,” said Kanoyton.
In Florida Conservative Republican Governor Ron DeSantis created such a unit in April. On August 28 he announced criminal charges against 20, mostly Black residents for allegedly illegally voting in 2020.
Although it may be noted on local city Voting Department’s websites such as Norfolk there is no mention that early voting starts in Virginia on September 23 in the state.
According to Stephanie L. Iles, Norfolk Director of Elections, early voting and absentee by mail begins September 23.
The deadline to register to vote is October 17 at 5 PM in person and 11:59 PM online.
She said you may check your registration, register to vote, or request an absentee ballot online at: