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The Fraudit Forever War

Glenn Youngkin continues to keep winking and nodding at the election truthers.
by Jim Swift
October 5, 2021
The Fraudit Forever War
(Photos: GettyImages / Shutterstock)

In his cat-and-mouse game with Virginia voters, Republican gubernatorial hopeful Glenn Youngkin has a pattern. He keeps silent on questions about Donald Trump, democracy, or January 6 as long as possible. Then he winks and nods to the deeply conspiratorial far-right voters in his base. Then he walks back these gestures with mealy-mouthed half-answers. And then he blames the media. 

Rinse. Wash. Repeat. 

Except not this time. Now, Glenn Youngkin is getting out in front by telling voters that he wants to audit every election. Speaking to the Richmond Crusade for Voters via a Zoom call, Youngkin told voters:

It’s just to make sure that folks are who they say they are when they come vote, and people seem to trust that, that seems to be uniformly supported regardless of party. I think we need to make sure that people trust these voting machines. And I just think like, I grew up in a world where you have an audit every year, in 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 just make everybody comfortable that we in fact have an election system that everybody can trust and we’ll stop complaining about it and we can start moving forward. 

When Youngkin proposes annual audits to “make everybody feel comfortable,” the “everybody” is pretty much just his #StopTheSteal supporters who think that even Virginia’s election was stolen. Because Lord knows, Youngkin is loath to correct these people.

This is vice signaling to Republican base voters who, with the Arizona Fraudit debacle behind us, are now demanding audits everywhere. If Youngkin was a Good Republican, he might tell these voters that they’re nuts. That the 2020 election was legitimate and without any material fraud. Yet not only is Glenn Youngkin not saying any of that—he’s out stumping with the #StopTheStealers.

Remember Amanda Chase? She was the state senator who ran against Youngkin in the primary as the self-styled “Trump in heels.” Youngkin defeated her in an election which was highly irregular, yet does not seem to have aroused the passions of the Republican voter security crowd.

But whatever. The point is that Chase has endorsed Youngkin and he has attended multiple events with her—even posed for pictures with her. Because he can brook no enemies to the right. And Chase herself is deeply committed to more election audits. In fact, here she is in August using language almost identical to what Youngkin said on the Zoom:

It’s so imperative that we make 100% sure that voters have 100% confidence in our election process. . . . It’s important that we audit Virginia. It’s important we have a forensic audit, not the faux audit that the State Board of Elections did.

But here’s the thing you have to understand about all of this:

The law in Virginia already requires audits after every election:

The state set a risk measurement of under .1 and the audit results fell well under that measurement. For the Presidential race the audit came in at .0000065117 and for the Senate race, the audit came in at .0000424172. The risk measurement represents the possibility a mistake could be found in the audit large enough to reverse the election result. In other words, these results confirm that the results in Virginia accurately portrayed the winners of these elections in Virginia.

Glenn Youngkin is not a dumb guy. He almost certainly knows that there are already audits.

Why he keeps stoking the Big Lie with a wink and nod is obvious: He needs Amanda Chase and her Republican supporters. And being honest about Virginia’s election system would put that support in jeopardy.

The problem is the people.

Jim Swift

Jim Swift is a senior editor at The Bulwark.