Virginia

Snapshot: Virginia has a middling score for ease of voting and a good score for ballot security and how elected officials responded to claims about the 2020 election.

Ease of Voting

Some measures to expand access
5 out of 7 benchmarks

Ballot Security

Many measures to ensure accuracy and security
7 out of 8 benchmarks

What Politicians Say

Few responses that undermined the 2020 election
3 out of 4 benchmarks

The state has taken dramatic steps to make voting easier over the last two years.

Virginia was one of nine states that until 2013 had to get federal pre-approval before changing voting laws to ensure that it did not discriminate against Black voters.

In 2021, lawmakers enacted their own version of the Voting Rights Act, requiring local elections administrators to get advance approval from the state attorney general before changing how elections are conducted.

The attorney general and voters can also sue a local government that they think is engaging in voter suppression.

Other new laws have expanded early in-person voting and required mail-ballot drop boxes. The state’s new same-day voter registration system will also go into effect for the first time this November.


Ease of Voting

Is the state making it easy for eligible voters to register and cast a ballot?
Met 0 out of 0 benchmarks
How Virginia compares to other states
Virginia
Other states
← Easier to vote
Harder →
8
7
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1
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Number of total benchmarks met

Other laws passed in the last two years allow voters to return a mail-ballot without a witness signature during public health emergencies, create a process for voters to fix a mail-ballot that was rejected, and allow 16-year-olds to pre-register to vote if they will be 18 by Election Day.


Ballot Security

Is the state following best practices to ensure ballot counting is accurate and timely?
Met 0 out of 0 benchmarks
How Virginia compares to other states
Virginia
Other states
← More secure
Less secure →
8
7
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2
1
0
Number of total benchmarks met

Lawmakers also gave the governor the power to extend the voter registration period in the event of an outage like one that happened in October of 2020 when road crews accidentally cut a crucial fiber optic cable.

Other recently passed laws remove dead voters from the rolls on a weekly basis, instead of monthly; require risk-limiting audits after elections; and ban private donations to run elections, such as the grants the state requested and received from Meta Platforms Inc Chief Executive Officer Mark Zuckerberg in 2020.

Read More: Zuckerberg’s Election Aid Spurs GOP Drive in 30 States to Ban It


How Politicians Responded to the 2020 Election

What did the state do in the aftermath of Trump's defeat?
Met 0 out of 0 benchmarks
How Virginia compares to other states
Virginia
Other states
← Fewer efforts to undermine 2020 election
More →
8
7
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3
2
1
0
Number of total benchmarks met

Republican Governor Glenn Youngkin has at times sent mixed messages on the 2020 election.

He waited until after he had won the Republican gubernatorial nomination to say that Joe Biden legitimately won the 2020 election. He said there’s not significant voter fraud in Virginia, but also appeared at a controversial “election integrity” rally at Liberty University organized by a Trump supporter who was outside the US Capitol on Jan. 6.

During his campaign, Youngkin declined to say whether he would have voted to certify the 2020 election if he were in Congress, but a campaign spokesman later said that he would have.

Three of Virginia’s four Republican US representatives objected to the certification of Biden electors from Arizona, and all four objected to Pennsylvania. Three also signed an amicus brief in support of a Texas lawsuit asking the Supreme Court to intervene in the election.


Read the full methodology
Story by: Ryan Teague Beckwith and Bill Allison
Graphics by: Paul Murray, Allison McCartney and Mira Rojanasakul
With assistance by: Rachael Dottle, Marie Patino, Jenny Zhang, Gregory Korte, Romy Varghese, Vincent Del Giudice, Nathan Crooks, Margaret Newkirk, Shruti Date Singh, David Welch, Elise Young, Dina Bass, Brendan Walsh, Carey Goldberg and Maria Wood
Editors: Wendy Benjaminson, Wes Kosova, Alex Tribou and Yue Qiu
Photo editors: Eugene Reznik, Marisa Gertz and Maria Wood
Photo credits: Getty Images, Bloomberg and AP Photo