Virginia Attorney General Jason Miyares is putting together a new team to crack down on any election law violations in the Commonwealth, saying he wants to ensure Virginia's "legality and purity in elections."
The team is called the Election Integrity Unit and will comprise 20 attorneys, investigators and paralegals working in the Office of the Virginia Attorney General.
Attorney General Miyares says they'll "administer legal advice to the Department of Elections, investigate and prosecute infractions of Virginia election law."
Former Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli applauds the effort as a way to deter election violations.
"Different states have different laws and Virginia has a lot of citizen participation and oversight and now that's going to get greater emphasis from this attorney general and that’s going to benefit Democrats, Republicans, Independents, Libertarians, vegetarians and all of us," says Cuccinelli.
However, Virginia's Democratic Chairwoman says it's unnecessary.
"But it’s also an incredible waste of taxpayer dollars," says Susan Swecker. "Attorney General Miyares went to the General Assembly last year and said he needed more money to do his job and this is what he’s spending his money on, wasting Virginia taxpayer money like this."
Under Virginia law, the attorney general has broad powers in the area of elections. State law says the attorney general "shall have full authority to do whatever is necessary or appropriate to enforce the election laws or prosecute violations."
Many people told FOX 5 they support the idea of an Election Integrity Unit.
"I think it’s important to make sure that our elections are safe and fair," one viewer said.
Attorney General Miyares says the creation of the unit fulfills a promise he made during the 2021 campaign to increase transparency in state elections. Some Democrats have expressed concerns that the effort could discourage some people from voting.