RICHMOND, Va. - It is a tight battle in the Virginia governor’s race, which is now less than a month away.
As the deadline moves close, more people are noticing Republican gubernatorial candidate Glenn Youngkin’s calls for voter machine audits, he is facing criticism for it.
The most recent comments are also hitting nerves with the voters FOX 5 spoke with in Woodbridge on Wednesday – many people say they are still concerned about election integrity.
Youngkin spoke on voting machine audits once more while speaking at an event that was recently held -- the video shared on Facebook earlier this week.
"I just think like, I grew up in a world where you have an audit every year and businesses, you have an audit. So let’s just audit the voting machines, publish it so everybody can see it. And I think when we press forward with this, we’re going to make everybody comfortable that we in fact have an election system that everybody can trust and will stop complaining about it – and can stop moving forward," he says in part of his comments on election integrity.
It is important to note, Virginia code does require the state to do post-election audits of ballot scanner machines. On March 2, 2021, the state board of elections announced that the audit done on Virginia’s original 2020 votes for presidential and senate did accurately portray the winners.
There is also a Virginia Department of Elections Handbook that says in addition to needing state Board of Elections approval, "Each machine and electronic poll book (not a sampling of machines) that will be used in an election must be tested prior to that election to ensure it has been programmed correctly and is functioning properly. The logic and accuracy test for voting machines will also uncover any ballot printing or coding issues that may affect accurate and complete tabulation." Notice also has to go to each party, who can pick one person to witness that testing.
FOX 5 was told Glenn Youngkin has previously said he is not proposing an additional audit on top of what’s already been done.
So why the comments?
His team essentially said election integrity measures like audits are something Youngkin affirms he will uphold as Governor.
"As Glenn Youngkin said in February, he believes audits are a best practice when it comes to administering elections—just as audits are a routine best practice in the business world—and he will ensure Virginia continues to conduct audits and that they are thorough, efficient, and accurate. Glenn has been clear about his view of the 2020 election and nothing has changed. Obviously McAuliffe opposes requiring a photo ID to vote, but if he does not support routine audits, updating the voter rolls regularly, verifying mail-in ballots and other election best practices identified by bipartisan experts, he should be clear with Virginians about where he stands. With less than a month until Election Day, Glenn will continue to speak with voters about his plan to cut costs for all Virginians by eliminating the grocery tax and slashing taxes for all Virginians, fulling funding law enforcement to make our communities safer ..., "said Youngkin’s spokesperson Chris Martinez in part of a statement to FOX 5.
McAuliffe’s team is among those criticizing Youngkin’s comments as peddling some of the voter fraud conspiracies from the 2020 presidential race.
"Once again, Glenn Youngkin – whose first and only plan for six months was ‘election integrity’ – makes it clear that it’s his priority to bring Trumpian audits and Donald Trump’s conspiracy theories to Virginia if he is elected. In November, Virginians will reject these Trumpian lies and choose a strong economy, open schools, and access to affordable health care when they vote for Terry McAuliffe," said Terry for Virginia spokesperson, Renzo Olivari.
Election integrity is still touchy topic. Many Virginia residents did not want to talk discuss it on camera on Wednesday.
"You just don’t know anymore and that’s the problem. There’s no trust and faith in the system as much as it used to be. You’re always going to have something. But you need to have some checks and balances. I think the voting machines do definitely need to be checked into as well," said a man who asked not to be identified.
Another woman who also asked not to be identified told FOX 5, "I have faith in the system. I don’t -- I just feel like there’s so many people and so many hands in the bowl that I don’t see how they could do anything fraudulent. I don’t see how anybody could get away with that."
Nina Sweeney told FOX 5, "I’m not sure that we’re there now. I don’t think we can take suggestions from just one party about what to do about it. So you know I hope that they can work together -- whoever wins in November can work together to make that a reality – you know, to make better election integrity a reality going forward."
FOX 5 also spoke to a number of people off-camera. The good news is while some people did express doubt in the election process, none of them said it would stop them from going to cast their vote in the 2021 governor’s race.
Virginia is less than a month away from the 2021 governor’s race. According to a recent Real Clear Politics tally, Terry McAuliffe is just 4.3 points ahead of his Republican rival Glenn Youngkin.
Both candidates have already said they will accept the state election’s results.