Jason Miyares, a Republican, is the Virginia attorney general.
Opinion | Jason Miyares: Why I created an Election Integrity Unit in Virgina
When I was growing up, my mother told me stories about her childhood and early life in communist Cuba. She told me the horror of the secret police coming to their house and kidnapping my uncle in the middle of the night. She told me the pain of seeing Havana’s thriving metropolis before Fidel Castro and communism turned her world upside down. She shared how painful it was to live in a country where the vulnerable have no voice, where there was no consent of the governed — the opposite of the American republic we all call home.
Gratitude is one of life’s most underrated of human traits. I’m so grateful for the life, freedom and opportunities we have here as compared with so many areas of the world where people don’t have a voice.
The most sacred of these freedoms is the right to vote. The ability to participate in a democracy through choosing our elected officials is an incredible right that is a cornerstone of our American miracle. One of my strongest beliefs is the simple concept that it should be easy to vote but hard to cheat.
The Post’s View: Virginia’s ‘Election Integrity Unit’ achieves the opposite of its stated purpose
Every Virginian, regardless of political affiliation, should have full faith and confidence in our election system. There is no reason any Virginian should have any doubt walking into a voting booth or mailing in a ballot. Wanting every Virginian to freely vote and to have absolute confidence in our democracy should not be controversial.
That’s why I created an Election Integrity Unit within the Virginia Office of the Attorney General. As the son of an immigrant who fled an oppressive country, I want every Virginian to be confident in our American experiment.
The media has enjoyed making a panic over the unit’s existence, claiming that I’m somehow aiming to discourage voting or spreading disinformation about our elections.
Let’s be clear: Joe Biden won the 2020 presidential election, and there was no widespread voter fraud in Virginia or elsewhere in the country.
But that has nothing to do with my Election Integrity Unit.
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For decades, the Office of the Attorney General has had broad and original jurisdiction over election law. The power of my office to prosecute any violation of Virginia election law, bring and defend civil actions involving elections and give legal advice to the Department of Elections well pre-dates my time as attorney general. For years, the Office of the Attorney General has had a dedicated group of election law lawyers who work every day to protect the sanctity of our election system.
The Election Integrity Unit is simply a restructuring of lawyers, paralegals and investigators already employed by my office and working on election matters. The goal is to more efficiently work with the election community by creating a more cooperative and collaborative approach from our office. This unit will also work to protect voting rights and crack down on voter intimidation.
No new tax dollars are used, and no individual is taken away from other responsibilities.
My Election Integrity Unit is designed to make my office work better for Virginians. That shouldn’t be controversial. It should be expected. Government should work for its people.
It’s a shame others doubt and villainize my intentions because of our party affiliations. I pray our country and our commonwealth outgrow this season of hyper-partisanship that makes even common-sense policies somehow controversial.