Va. AG probing 2020 election irregularities nearly 2 years later with records about to be destroyed

"The Office of Attorney General is conducting several investigations into election irregularities and election official misconduct," wrote Senior Assistant Attorney General Josh Lief.

Published: September 1, 2022 6:27pm

Updated: September 1, 2022 11:34pm

The Virginia attorney general's office is investigating 2020 election irregularities nearly two years later as the 22-month waiting period required under federal law to preserve election records ends Saturday and state law requires the records to be destroyed after Labor Day.

According to the state attorney general's office, while there is no evidence of "widespread fraud" that would alter Virginia's 2020 election results, other election investigations are ongoing, and any irrelevant election data will soon be destroyed.

In an Aug. 24 email obtained by the Prince William County GOP, Senior Assistant Attorney General and Section Chief Josh Lief wrote that "several investigations into election irregularities and election official misconduct" were being conducted and details couldn't be shared, but he promised "the results will be public in due time."

"Attorney General Miyares has created an election integrity unit composed of attorneys and investigators that will work closely with law enforcement to ensure that future elections are conducted pursuant to law and at the highest level of integrity," Lief continued.

The attorney general's office "has reviewed the 2020 election results," he added, "along with hundreds of documents and concerns from citizens and elected officials and has not seen any evidence of widespread fraud that would change the results of Virginia's 2020 election," he added.

"Therefore, we have no justification [to] commence a proceeding to stop the discarding of the ballots this year," he concluded.

Lief explained in the email that, according to state law, "ballots from old elections are discarded once the time has expired for initiating a recount, contest, or other proceeding in which such ballots may be needed as evidence."

Federal law requires that records for federal elections be preserved for 22 months after the elections occur, which would be Sept. 3 for the 2020 election.

Prince William County Republican Committee Chairman Denny Daugherty sent a letter on Aug. 29 with the GOP committee chairs of Fairfax, Loudoun, and Fauquier Counties and the City of Manassas to Gov. Glenn Youngkin, requesting that "all 2020 and 2021 paper ballots, election data and related media" be preserved statewide.

In an email to the governor with the letter attached, Daugherty wrote that, according to his understanding, election records were to be disposed of after Labor Day.

Daugherty added in the letter that Youngkin had committed to protecting election integrity during his gubernatorial campaign, including auditing voting machines and publishing the results for the public to examine.

"Your promise, without having access to ballots and voting information we seek to preserve, cannot be meaningfully fulfilled," Daugherty wrote.

The Prince William County GOP chairman added that the Virginia Department of Elections voted in April to begin an attorney general investigation "to determine whether there were any deviations or irregularities in election administration procedures during the 2020 general election that could have impacted access, turnout, and/or results."

While election records will be preserved in Prince William County for the investigation, Daugherty said that records in other jurisdictions should also be preserved to investigate whether they had election issues similar to those Prince William County experienced.

On the John Solomon Reports podcast Thursday, Daugherty said that he knows an investigation by the attorney general is ongoing in his county, but "we don't know what they expect to find, what they have found."

In the letter to Youngkin, he said that both Elections Commissioner Susan Beals and Lief were briefed in June by "a group of citizens," including several from Prince William County, about "2020 and 2021 election irregularities, issues, and questions."

Daugherty added that Beals and Lief "promised a response to the numerous questions that were posed" but that the group has not yet "received any feedback or response."

"We think there are a lot of unanswered questions about the way in which elections have been handled in Virginia," Daugherty said on the podcast.

"We're asking Gov. Youngkin to preserve the records of that difficult election, so we can learn lessons so that our elections are less subject to the vagaries of chance and mischief in 2022, 2023, and 2024," he added.

Daugherty said the governor's office has not yet responded to his letter.

The Virginia Office of the Attorney General and the governor's office didn't immediately respond to requests for comment Thursday evening.

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